ABC editorial staff call for content chief to resign over Gaza comments sacking

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Australian-Lebanese broadcaster Antoinette Lattouf
Australian-Lebanese broadcaster Antoinette Lattouf . . . unfairly sacked by the ABC over truthful posting by Human Rights Watch over starvation in Gaza. Image: Wikipedia

Pacific Media Watch

Editorial staff at Australia’s public broadcaster ABC have again registered a vote of no confidence in managing director David Anderson and senior managers over the handling of complaints by Israeli lobbyists.

At a national meeting of members of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance this week, staff passed a resolution of no confidence in Anderson and all ABC managers involved in the decision to unfairly dismiss freelance broadcaster Antoinette Lattouf, MEAA said in a statement.

The meeting was held in response to the Fair Work Commission hearings to determine Lattouf’s unfair dismissal claim after she had been sacked from her temporary job as host of ABC Sydney radio’s morning show in December.

Staff have also called for ABC’s head of content, Chris Oliver-Taylor, to step down immediately for his role as the ultimate decisionmaker in the dismissal of Lattouf.

“The mishandling of Antoinette Lattouf’s employment has done enormous damage to the integrity and reputation of the ABC,” said MEAA media director Cassie Derrick.

“Evidence provided in the Fair Work Commission hearing about the involvement of David Anderson and Chris Oliver-Taylor in her dismissal has further undermined the confidence of staff in the managing director and his senior managers to be able to protect the independence of the ABC.

ABC union staff call for the resignation of content chief
ABC union staff call for the resignation of content chief Chris Oliver-Taylor over the dismissal of journalist Antoinette Lattouf. Image: Middle East Eye screenshot APR

“The Lattouf case continues a pattern of ABC journalists, particularly those from culturally diverse backgrounds, lacking support from management when they face criticism from lobby groups, business organisations and politicians.

“For these reasons, Chris Oliver-Taylor should be stood down immediately, while Mr Anderson must demonstrate he is taking the concerns of staff seriously to begin to restore confidence in his leadership.”

Lattouf co-founded Media Diversity Australia (MDA) in 2017, a nonprofit agency which seeks to increase cultural and linguistic diversity in Australia’s news media.

Her parents arrived in Australia as refugees from Lebanon in the 1970s.

Lattouf was born in 1983 in Auburn, New South Wales. She attended various public schools in Western Sydney and studied communications (social inquiry) at the University of Technology Sydney.

The full motion passed by ABC MEAA members on Wednesday:

“We, MEAA members at the ABC, are outraged by the revelations of how ABC executives have disregarded the independence of the ABC, damaged the public’s trust in our capacity to report without fear or favour, and mistreated our colleague Antoinette Lattouf.

“Staff reaffirm our lack of confidence in managing director David Anderson, and in all ABC managers involved in the decision to unfairly dismiss Antoinette Lattouf.

“Chris Oliver-Taylor has undermined the integrity of the entire ABC through his mismanagement, and should step down from his role as Head of the Content Division immediately.

“We call on ABC management to stop wasting public funds on defending the unfair dismissal case against Antoinette Lattouf, provide her and the public a full apology and reinstate her to ABC airwaves.

“We demand that ABC management implement staff calls for a fair and clear social media policy, robust and transparent complaints process and an audit to address the gender and race pay gap.”

An earlier statement expressing loss of confidence in the ABC managing director David Anderson
An earlier statement expressing loss of confidence in the ABC managing director David Anderson for “failing to defend the integrity” of the broadcaster and its staff over attacks related to the War on Gaza on 22 January 2024. Image: MEAA screenshot APR
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