ABC board moves Q&A to news division following Zaky Mallah controversy

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 5.45.48 pmThe board of public broadcaster the ABC has confirmed it will move political discussion show Q&A under the purview of the news division.

The widely expected move, which sees the show come under the more rigorous rules of the news division, comes after an ongoing public controversy surrounding the appearance of former terrorism suspect Zaky Mallah who asked a question from the studio audience in June.

In a board statement the ABC confirmed: “Based on the information provided, the Board considers both the program and the wider ABC would benefit by an orderly shift of Q&A into the ABC News Division.

“Q&A is a significant feature in Australia’s news and current affairs cycle. Such relocation should provide the program with greater operational and cultural alignment.”

Last month the ABC board announced that television journalist Ray Martin and former SBS managing director Shaun Brown will lead a review of the program and also reveals that Q&A executive producer Peter McEvoy has received a formal warning for misconduct over the inclusion of Mallah in the studio audience.

The ABC has previously apologised for an “error in judgement” in allowing Mallah, who pleaded guilty to threatening the life of an ASIO officer, to appear on the program.

The board statement noted that the timing of the move will be determined by management with the change to take effect no later than 2016.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott had asked for the change to take place before he would lift a ban on minister appearing on the program.

The Brown and Martin review on Q&A will report later this year.

Nic Christensen 


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