The ABC has stood by its news reporting in the most recent Four Corners episode about child refugees living in Nauru, after copping widespread criticism from the Micronesian country’s government, as well as our own.
A statement issued today by the ABC’s news director, Gaven Morris, said the claims made by the Nauru government and the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (ADIBP) in relation to the episode “The Forgotten Children” are not correct.
“The Nauruan government and the DIBP may ‘contest’ Four Corners’ assertions but they have produced no evidence to cast doubt upon them,” he said.
Morris’ said the fact that some of the video footage showing men brawling had appeared previously on YouTube does not cast doubt on its veracity.
“There is no suggestion that the violence shown did not occur, and it is typical of the violence reported by Amnesty International, the teachers, the students and many other witnesses,” he said.
Furthermore, Morris said the school toilets shown in the program are the toilets that greeted the children when they were sent to the Nauruan schools.
“This is when they were filmed and also how they were described in the program by one of the teachers who saw them at that time,” he said. “There can be no doubt about this.”
Morris added that Four Corners requested an interview with Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.
“Mr Dutton requested that any interview be live, which is not part of the Four Corners format,” he said.
“The Minister was offered a live interview on the episode of Lateline immediately following the program’s airing and also on AM the next morning. He declined both.”