ABC rejects claim it was “slow” to report London attacks

The ABC has refuted claims it was slow to report in its reporting of the London attack as terrorism following an article published by The Australian.

The newspaper claimed ABC continued to ­describe the attacks as “incidents” even after the Metropolitan Police declared they were being treated as “terrorist incidents” at 9.50am AEST on Sunday.

“The ABC waited until 10.13am to send an alert with confirmation of the news, and did not update its Twitter account until 10.43am,” it reported.

In a statement, ABC said, “The ABC began live digital blogging and television coverage of the London Bridge incident as soon as it occurred, and it was leading our top stories bulletin. As soon as it was described as a terror attack by Prime Minister Theresa May it was reported online, at 9:47am. When the Metropolitan Police confirmed that description in a tweet we reported it five minutes later at 9:56am.

“The ABC news channel deliberately and carefully did not describe the London attacks as ‘terrorism’ until the British authorities themselves felt confident to do so. At 9:48am the news channel put up a strap reporting the statement by the PM describing the incidents as a ‘potential act of terrorism’. At 9:53am the news channel also broadcast the Metropolitan Police tweet saying they were being treated as ‘terrorist incidents’ — three minutes after the tweet was posted. At 9:55am the news channel changed its strap headline from ‘London incidents’ to ‘London attacks’.”

ABC posted an image highlighting times at 9:47am and 9:56am.

“The ABC was not ‘slow’, nor were we misleading or under-reporting. We were following good journalism and making considered judgements at every step,” the broadcaster said.


  1. A media outlet not acting like a tabloid and failing to publish suspicions as fact? I can understand why a Murdoch paper wouldn’t understand that.

  2. I’m in WA and last night there was an incident in France at 11pm WA time. I then realised that there is no live ABC news overnight from 11pm to 4am. Even with this breaking news screening on BBC, CNN, Fox etc

  3. Seriously we are having a crack because of a delayness by a tv station not covering a terrorist attack. Maybe they wanted to get the facts first.

  4. Quite right too. It’s stupid being fast and wrong. Media outlets have called incidents terrorism too quickly in the past and have been proved wrong – just adding unnecessary fear and incorrect information.

  5. >> The Australian …. claimed “The ABC waited until 10.13am to send an alert with confirmation of the news, and did not update its Twitter account until 10.43am,”

    Hear hear. I can’t wait to see The Oz campaign for more funding for the ABC so it can boost its online profile and compete with the commercial outlets …

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