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    ABC board to hold emergency meeting after staff pass vote of no confidence in David Anderson

    The ABC board will hold an emergency meeting today after upwards of 100 ABC union staff passed a vote of no confidence in the broadcaster’s managing director, David Anderson.

    The vote was passed 128 votes to three at a national online meeting attended by over 200 members of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA). The vote is in response to the ongoing Fair Work case brought by former ABC radio host Antoinette Lattouf.

    It is the latest move by ABC staff who are protesting against the public broadcaster’s handling of the case. Staff believe Anderson had failed to “defend the integrity of the ABC and its staff from outside attacks”. 

    In a statement on Monday evening, Anderson and the ABC rejected claims that the broadcaster has been influenced by any external pressure.

    “I have worked hard to stand by the ABC’s journalists and ensure they are protected from punitive behaviour that would hinder their work and ultimately affect the independence of the ABC – whether that be from AFP raids, political pressure, powerful organisations or lobby groups,” the statement from Anderson read.

    See Also: ABC Sydney staff threaten walkout over Antoinette Lattouf’s termination

    Last week, the Sydney Morning Herald published leaked messages from rom a WhatsApp group called Lawyers for Israel that detailed a letter-writing campaign addressed to Anderson and ABC chair, Ita Buttrose. The messages detailed members’ contact with the ABC – and Communications Minister Michelle Rowland – with requests that Lattouf be taken off the air; some messages included threats of legal action. 

    Yesterday, a statement from The ABC Alumni, an association of high-profile former ABC staff, shared concerns about the ABC’s independence in light of the perception that the ABC has ‘buckled’ to outside pressure.

    See also: ABC Alumni staff raise concerns about the public broadcaster’s independence

    According to reports in The Sydney Morning Herald, ABC global affairs editor John Lyons spoke passionately at the online meeting, “When I read those WhatsApp messages, for the first time ever, and hopefully the last time ever, I felt embarrassed to work for the ABC. I was embarrassed that a group of 156 lawyers could laugh at how easy it was to manipulate the ABC.”

    Staff have also said that they will “consider further action” if no action is taken by the ABC by Monday, January 29. Anderson has agreed to meet with staff.

    Acting chief executive of MEAA, Adam Portelli, said “Public trust in the ABC is being undermined. The organisation’s reputation for frank and fearless journalism is being damaged by management’s repeated lack of support for its staff when they are under attack from outside.”

    The post ABC board to hold emergency meeting after staff pass vote of no confidence in David Anderson appeared first on Mediaweek.

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