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ABC denies gagging technology editor over National Broadband Network coverage

The ABC’s outgoing technology editor has claimed he was limited in how he wrote about the NBN during his six year stint with the public broadcaster.

Nick Ross today took aim at his former employer as he announced his departure from the ABC, tweeting: “Mixed emotions here: I’ve left the ABC. Some stuff still falling out but hey, I can potentially write about #NBN again(!)…I also don’t have to let any public lies/criticism about me go unanswered anymore, can be more active on social media…”

Nick Ross 2An spokeswoman said: “Nick Ross has resigned from the ABC and we are not in a position to make any specific comment about his situation or circumstances other than to wish him well. He was a valued and respected staff member.

“The ABC does not “gag”  the coverage of any issues or topics of public importance. As our record makes clear, the ABC covers all issues of public importance thoroughly and independently.

“The only “restrictions” on the issues the ABC covers and the way we cover them are our Editorial Policies, which set standards for things like accuracy, impartiality and fair dealing. All of our journalism is required to adhere to these standards at all times.”

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.19.20 pmRoss’s coverage of the NBN has at times been controversial with the ABC’s own Media Watch program highlighting in 2013 concerns about a lack of perspective in some of the reporter’s coverage relating to the NBN and whether fibre-to-the-premise was a better approach than fibre-to-the-node.

In the broadcast, Media Watch noted how Bruce Belsham, head of current affairs, had had a “little chat” with Ross importance of providing “a diversity of perspectives and the importance of analysis being underpinned by accurate information”.

Today Ross appeared to take aim at the ABC tweeting: “Also I have no requirement to fend off all your questions about what happened to me over the past three years anymore” and questioning the decision of the ABC to close its technology portal which he had run for the last few years.

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.13.56 pmAsked about the decision to remove the ABC Technology portal, the ABC spokeswoman said: “The technology page has long been out of use and has now been decommissioned.

“All of the content is still available on the ABC News site. Technology coverage will now be run off the front page, where the big audiences are and where it will be more available to our audience.”

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 4.38.51 pm

A screenshot of the removed ABC technology portal.

Australia’s technology and telecommunications round has seen a number of experienced reporters depart the space in the last 12 months.

Among the departures are: The Australian’s Stuart Kennedy and Fran Foo, Business Spectator’s Harrison Polites, Fairfax’s Ben Grubb and Rose Powell along with Gizmodo’s Luke Hopewell.

Nic Christensen 

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