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ABC lifts building security in the wake of threats following Monday’s Q&A episode

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 12.46.42 pmThe ABC has lifted its security at its offices after receiving numerous threatening phone calls, in the wake of Monday’s Q&A which featured former terrorism suspect Zaky Mallah. 

It is understood that many of the ABC’s major capital city offices have been restricted to staff only as a precautionary security measure after the ABC received more than 1000 viewer phone calls about the episode this week.

“Security has been stepped up at major ABC offices across Australia as a precautionary measure to protect the welfare of staff,” said an ABC spokesman. “There have been a number of threatening phone calls.”

The ABC would not be drawn on the details of the lift in security.

The move comes as tensions between the public broadcaster and the Coalition government continued to rise with Prime Minister Tony Abbott ordering an external inquiry into Mallah’s appearance and insisted that “heads should roll” at the public broadcaster for airing repeats of the show.

ABC boss Mark Scott fired back last night in a speech in Melbourne accusing News Corp of failing to engage in a “rational discourse” over the appearance of Zaky Mallah on its Q&A program and rejecting some of the criticism made by Abbott.

Turning pointedly to the question posed by the Prime Minister, who asked the ABC “whose side are you on?”, Scott said the broadcaster is “on the side of Australia”.

“The ABC is clearly Australian, it’s on the side of Australia. The A in ABC is for Australian. And the part we play, what we do for the side, is a vital one, central to our culture and our democracy – that of being an independent public broadcaster.”

On Tuesday the ABC admitted the program “made an error in judgement” in allowing Mallah to join the Q&A audience and ask a question in the show.

Nic Christensen 

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