Anthony Stavrinos writes:

Seems the ABC has been a little
sloppy disclosing former deputy PM Tim Fischer’s role as adviser to the
CDMA Development Group, a lobby group for the CDMA mobile phone
network. While some outlets like The Australian have made it very clear in articles either penned by Fischer or written on the issue, there’s been a glut of stories ignoring this critical fact.

Among the offenders was a Daily Telegraph editorial titled “Slow down, Sol,” which you can read here.

And with the ABC being the media organisation which has the deepest penetration in the bush, it’s understandable that its reporting of the CDMA issue has prompted Telstra to write to the public broadcaster earlier this month:

A number of news reports carried on the ABC have used
commentary from Mr Tim Fischer… Telstra understands that Mr Fischer is
currently a paid lobbyist for manufacturers of CDMA equipment.

Telstra
is concerned that the ABC has failed to disclose this point in its
reporting, in many instances identifying Mr Fischer only as former
Deputy Prime Minister.

Telstra considers that this omission
renders these reports misleading, in that, with out disclosing this
point, the audience would consider Mr Fischer to be an objective and
independent commentator.

The ABC for its part, seems to
have graciously accepted that it has been sloppy in reporting on the
CDMA issue. Greg Wilesmith, ABC’s Acting Head of National programs,
wrote in his response to Telstra:

There were various stories written for ABC radio bulletins
yesterday (16/11) on CDMA. Of those which referred to Mr Fischer some
noted clearly that he was a CDMA consultant, some did not.

When
senior editors became aware of a lack of consistency they instructed
that Mr Fischer’s affiliation be noted. ABC Local Radio management,
which is quite separate from News & Current Affairs have been
advised.

But an ABC radio report in Darwin last
Wednesday described Mr Fischer only as “chairman of Tourism Australia”
while another of the public broadcaster’s reports from Yackandanda a
day earlier labelled him as “former Deputy Prime Minister”.

Those two examples were among at least eight known oversights in ABC reports noted since by Telstra’s media monitoring service.