• 01 NOV 16
    • 0

    Off with their heads! ABC’s Catalyst staff to be sacked and weekly TV show format scrapped

    Note: In the below article it is apparent that one of the reasons the present format of the Catalyst science program is now being scrapped, including sacking of the staff, is because of a chorus of so-called “independent” expert opinions, all claiming that the Catalyst Wi-Fried program as incorrect in not supporting the “scientific consensus” that there are no hazards from wireless technology.

    According to ACEBR Director, Rodney Croft, any other scientific opinion on this issue is fringe science and that “there is no substantiated evidence that the low levels of radiofrequency emissions encountered by mobile telecommunications can cause any harm”.

    In other words, ABC management has taken the easy option and succumbed to the Procrustean Approach…..



    ABC’s Catalyst staff to be sacked and weekly TV show format scrapped

    From The Guardian and http://www.msn.com


    The ABC”™s Catalyst program is to lose its weekly slot and its 11 staff “” including the suspended presenter Maryanne Demasi “” made redundant under a radical plan which has been approved by the ABC board.

    Under the plan the in-house magazine-style program will be replaced by 17 one-hour science specials, mainly from the independent production sector.

    But senior ABC program makers have warned that ditching the weekly half-hour program and disbanding the science unit would lead to a dumbing down of science programming and effectively kill off Australian science on television.

    Demasi has been on leave since a review of her Wi-Fried? program “” which linked Wi-Fi and mobile phones with health risks including brain cancer “” was found to have breached the ABC”™s impartiality guidelines.

    The discredited program was the second Catalyst story by Demasi to be found in breach of the ABC”™s editorial policies and to be removed from the website. In 2013 Demasi kept her job despite an editorial breach for a program about statins.

    An internal management review, commissioned in the wake of the Demasi breaches, has now recommended that the entire weekly program be axed along with its presenters, producers and researchers.


    Senior program makers and independent producers claim that middle management has “absolved itself” of any responsibility for the the lack of editorial control at Catalyst that led to the two programs being cleared for broadcast.

    Of the plan to air hour-long documentaries under the Catalyst name, ABC program makers say science lends itself to short-form content that can bounce off the news. Under the longer format, they say, the Australian element would be severely watered down.

    “By doing this you are saying the ABC TV stops covering science effectively,” one senior ABC program maker told Guardian Australia. “Seventeen in-depth stories a year wouldn”™t cover Australia science. If you stop doing short-form journalistic science then you”™re not covering science anymore.

    “There are very, very few science stories that survive an hour of television. There are only a few topics like that. A lot of them to do them well require an overseas focus rather than an Australian focus. SNIP

    The independent report on Wi-Fried? concluded: “The cumulative effect of the inadequate signposting for the audience; the selection and lack of context in the scientific papers referenced in or underpinning the program; the prominence given to views challenging the scientific consensus; and the findings for accuracy all unduly favour the unorthodox perspective that wireless devices and Wi-Fi pose significant health risks.”

    A spokesman for the ABC confirmed that Catalyst was under review. “The ABC can confirm Catalyst will be part of the ABC schedule in 2017 and acknowledges the importance of the program for the scientific community and audiences in general,” he said.

    “The ABC consistently reviews programs at the end of each year to ensure it maintains its commitment to audience needs and expectations. After more than 15 years ABC Television is reviewing Catalyst”™s format and production model. ABC management will respond to that review in due course.”

    Read the full article, with commments, here

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