ABC News rejects Media Watch report

Let’s put this one down to no editorial interference in Ultimo…

ABC News has issued a response to Media Watch after Monday’s programme questioned whether ABC journalist and NT chief minister’s wife Kristy O’Brien can juggle two conflicting roles?

Media Watch has spoken to several ABC journalists who say there is a conflict of interest here and management is not taking it seriously enough,” Paul Barry charged.

But in a statement ABC News said it rejected the report which carried “unsourced and unverified claims about the ABC’s Darwin newsroom.”

“As Media Watch was told, of course ABC News is aware of the potential for a real or perceived conflict of interest in this situation. The ABC has put additional oversight in place in ABC Darwin to ensure there are no conflicts, with the News Editor monitoring and managing the situation in accordance with editorial policies. This includes regular communications about it with Ms O’Brien as well as openly discussing the situation within the newsroom team to ensure any potential issues can be got out in the open and managed,” ABC said in a statement.

“No complaints have been made by any staff member, or any specific issues raised.

“Ms O’Brien’s marital status does not disqualify her from being able to work as a journalist. She is still entitled to have a career. Her work can be assessed on its merits and the ABC is satisfied it meets our editorial standards. As Media Watch pointed out, she is an experienced journalist who has won numerous awards for her reporting and filmmaking.”

It went on to refute specific claims you can read here.

Media Watch runs independent of ABC News, headed up by Gaven Morris, and in the past Barry has told TV Tonight, “We’re in a different part of the building to News & Current Affairs so we don’t see a massive amount of them naturally. But I meet people in the lift or the make-up room that I have recently had a go at. It’s uncomfortable.”

In July Morris also told TV Tonight, “Only the ABC would have a program that criticises itself.

“We should be able to analyse ourselves just as much as we choose to analyse others. So while that puts noses out of joint from time to time, I think that’s a real strength to the ABC.”

He added, “We have been a target of Media Watch just as much as many other news outlets have. We get a bit annoyed with it, sometimes. Sometimes they take shots at us, like all the other media do, that we think aren’t necessarily fair and square. But that’s their job.”


  1. I do notice a culture of cronyism in some organisations, more so to do with political views or alignment than competence or qualifications. It should be noted that in competition clauses for example, spouse, de facto partner, child, sibling etc. are restricted and not permitted if related to directors, management, officers, contractors etc.

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