Communications Minister Mitch Fifield will discuss last week’s Four Corners report on Nauru with ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie, following complaints from conservative corners.
“I was certainly troubled by the fact that Minister Dutton, who offered himself for a Live interview at the conclusion of the program, that that offer wasn’t accepted,” he told SKY News.
“There’s no reason why that shouldn’t have be accepted.
“I did think it was odd Mr Dutton’s offer to give a Live interview wasn’t taken up.”
Despite sitting side by side with the ABC boss at the Senate Estimates hearing the day after the program, he added, “I haven’t yet raised the issue with Michelle Guthrie but I certainly will be.”
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton will also lodge a formal complaint with the ABC over the program, after it profiled the plight of refugee children on the Pacific island nation. He declined offers to appear on Lateline following the program and on AM the day after it aired. Amnesty International described Australia’s policy of holding refugees on Nauru indefinitely amounts to a systematic violation of human rights.
The Nauruan government also described the program as an “embarrassment to journalism.”
But ABC head of news Gaven Morris defended the program.
“Four Corners relied on a range of sources for its footage, including hiring a freelance camera operator on Nauru, as is routinely done on many stories,” he wrote.
“The key interviews with the children were conducted remotely by our journalists.
“We checked the veracity of all supplied footage used in the story through a number of sources.”