Editorial Review Of ABC’s Ghost Train Fire Series Criticises Reporting On Neville Wran

Editorial Review Of ABC’s Ghost Train Fire Series Criticises Reporting On Neville Wran

The ABC’s three-part Ghost Train Fire series has been criticised in an independent review for its coverage of former NSW Premier Neville Wran.

The independent review was led by Chris Masters, a Walkley and Logie award winning journalist, and Professor Rodney Tiffen from the University of Sydney.

In the documentary series, fronted by investigative journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna, the ABC explored corruption in the NSW Police which may have impacted the investigation into the devastating 1979 Luna Park Ghost Train fire. Six boys and one man were killed.

Colleagues and friends of Wran, who died in 2014, have been highly critical of an element of the story alleging that he met socially with Abe Saffron, a prominent figure in Sydney’s organised crime world at the time.

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, former ABC chairman David Hill and past NSW premiers Bob Carr and Barrie Unsworth were all among the complainants.

While the full review has not yet been published on the ABC’s website, it has been presented to the ABC board.

According to both The Sydney Morning Herald and The Guardian, an ABC spokesperon said, “an independent review of Exposed: The Ghost Train Series has found the program performed an important public service and describes its production values as ‘world-class’ and ‘exemplary’.”

“Since its broadcast, there have been responses by the coroner and by the police, who are now offering a reward for information about the fire, and widespread calls in parliament and elsewhere for a new inquiry.”

However, the spokesperon acknowledged that the review “contains a critical opinion about one aspect of Exposed – an historical allegation regarding Neville Wran, to which ABC News has responded.”

“Reviews are not ‘pass/fail’ tests for content. The ABC always looks for ways content can be better and values the insights of external reviewers.”

The review also praised the documentary for its role in uncovering suspicious evidence regarding the cause of the fire, as well as police incompetence and failures of the earlier investigations, and ultimately “mounted a compelling case for a new investigation”.




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ABC Exposed: The Ghost Train Fire independent reviews

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