“Some people are disciplined. Other people are simply counselled.”

David Anderson is asked how ABC enforces its Social Media Guidelines for staff?

ABC Managing Director David Anderson was this week asked how the broadcaster enforces its Personal Use of Social Media Guidelines under the ABC Code of Conduct.

It follows high-profile defamation cases where public figures have chosen to sue over personal social media posts.

Speaking at a Senate hearing this week, chair Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg suggested “dozens and dozens” of staff were seemingly in breach of ABC policy.

David Anderson offered to look into specific cases, but said the vast majority of staff have understood guidelines and modified their behaviour.

“When people raise matters we do look at each one. We do not have a disproportionate, onerous squad of people constantly monitoring people’s use of personal social media. We do trust our employees to understand what the requirements are of them. But for those matters that are raised to us, I assure you that we do look into them. Some people are disciplined. Other people are simply counselled,” he advised.

“I think what we’re doing Senator is tackling what is otherwise quite a difficult situation that I think all organisations are facing at the moment, when it comes to their staff and personal use of social media. So banning use of social media is is not reasonably enforceable,” he continued.

Anderson also confirmed he made the decision as managing director to pay Four Corners reporter Louise Milligan’s personal legal costs of some $184,000 after she was sued by federal MP Andrew Laming over tweets sent in March because his legal counsel advised of financial exposure and feared an apology would not settle the matter.

He added, “Every staff member is entitled to confidentiality under the terms of their employment. So I’m not going to confirm whether or not Ms. Milligan was disciplined or not. But I will assure you that of course, Ms. Milligan was spoken to about it.”

In August staff were told what is separately created and posted on personal social media accounts is editorially and legally the responsibility of the owner of the accounts.

Leave a Reply