Daily Mail Aus and accused of fuelling online troll behaviour

Public broadcaster, the ABC, has directed anger and blame at publishers, owned by News Corp Australia, and The Daily Mail Australia for fuelling inappropriate online behaviour towards its presenters.

In a statement published on the broadcaster’s website yesterday afternoon, the ABC said that “under the guise of concern, these stories are republishing abuse”.

The stories referred to by the ABC, which were published yesterday morning include: ‘Just plain gutless’: Aussie Twitter users slam online trolls for sickening Lisa Millar comments,  which was published on by Rebecca Borg, and ‘Sickening Twitter trolls hit a new low as their vile insults against ABC host Lisa Millar get disgustingly personal more than a year after she was bullied off the platform’ which appeared on The Daily Mail Australia by Antionette Milienos.

The opening line of the article stated: “A well-known media personality has once again fallen victim to abhorrent social media trolls who this time callously targeted her for her outfit.”

It goes on to say, the “sickening tweets – most of which are too inappropriate to publish – have sparked outrage online as appalled Twitter users call for them to be taken down”. editor in chief Lisa Muxworthy defended the story: “We believe a clear public interest exists in reporting on the issue of vile social media trolls and the damage they cause. Choosing to not report on this issue or to ignore it would set a poor precedent that could help ensure appropriate action to address these actions fails to occur.”

The Daily Mail Australia story

Muxworthy added: “ has a long and strident history of exposing abuse against women such as the Let Her Speak campaign championing Grace Tame and other victims of crime and, more recently, our Justice Shouldn’t Hurt editorial series which led to legislative change for children involved in sexual abuse matters.” was earlier in the week named the most read online news outlet in the country, with 12.8 million views.

The ABC statement included a request for response from the broadcaster by the journalist.

The statement included that the ABC was not going to dignify any “vile comments” being made about a presenter’s clothes by responding to the request.

The statement continued: “If Daily Mail Australia and were genuine in their concern about such behaviour they wouldn’t amplify it by republishing the comments they describe as “vile” and “sickening”, accompanied by a screenshot.

“Giving anonymous social media bullies publicity on a national platform is participating in perpetuating antisocial behaviour and the very serious issue of online abuse of women.

“Especially on the eve of International Women’s Day, we ask for a more responsible approach to reporting on these issues.”

ABC director, of news Justin Stevens said: “The relentless and vile bullying Lisa Millar is subjected to on social media, particularly Twitter, is unacceptable. She is an outstanding broadcaster and journalist and does an incredible job.

“Media outlets that amplify this disgusting anonymous trolling need to take a good hard look at themselves and their standards.”

A story published three weeks ago, titles ‘Shock as ABC announces it will shut down three of its most popular news brands’ Twitter pages’ stated that “criticism and hatred is nothing new to journalists, particularly those from the ABC”.


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