Media Watch questions ABC participation in Pride in Diversity

The ABC’s Media Watch program has questioned the ABC’s involvement in ACON’s Pride in Diversity program saying it may cause bias and favourable treatment of LGBTIQA+ issues in news coverage.

“The problem here is a media group partnering with and being rewarded by a lobby group — any lobby group. And how that can lead to perceptions of bias in coverage or to bias itself.” host Paul Barry said.

Media Watch highlighted comments made Alan Davison, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney.

Davison, who is a musicologist, recently appeared at a forum at Melbourne University where transgender issues were debated.

“When you sign up to any kind of scheme, particularly a ranking scheme that is highly competitive that comes from an advocacy organisation, in a way you’re signing up to a partnership and allyship with the values and claims of that advocacy organisation.” Davies said at the event.

Yesterday OUTinPerth revealed that Davies is a director of a newly registered company named Biology Matters which sees him in partnership with many outspoken voices of transgender rights and participation.

ABC management have denied their participation in national workplace equality index effects on air coverage, and ACON have released a statement denying the scheme is an advocacy tool.

“Pride in Diversity is an employer support program for LGBTQ workplace inclusion. The goal of the program has always been to work with employers to create more inclusive workplaces for LGBTQ employees.

“Pride in Diversity is not a public advocacy program. Its remit is strictly related to workplace diversity and inclusion practice.

“Pride in Diversity was established following requests from employers, seeking advice and support in this area to enable parity with their international offices and emerging best practice in diversity and inclusion. Without market demand, Pride in Diversity would not exist.”

ACON said the program has come under repeated attacks over the past several months from opponents of LGBTQ equality, who have taken to mainstream, digital and social media to mischaracterise the program.

The ABC has been highlighted as a great employer for LGBTIQA+ people via the program, but host Paul Barry argues that by taking part in the program the ABC may be creating an environment where views that are not supportive of gay, bisexual, and transgender people are ignored.

In the report Barry highlighted that in Britain both the BBC and Channel 4 pulled out of a similar program run by the charity Stonewall, and that ABC chairperson Ita Butrose recently issued a statement over an article on transgender women’s participation in sport that omitted some information.

OIP Staff

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