ABC radio responds

Andrea Ho, acting ABC local content manager NSW, writes: Re. “How ABC 702 Sydney failed the Blue Mountains, and Twitter won this morning” (Wednesday). We believe this was an unfair and wrong assessment of our coverage. Between 5.30 and 7.45 there was one only generalisation of information, that is at 7.59 the news bulletin wrapped up coverage with the general statement that ”All roads to the Blue Mountains are closed.”

That does not detract from the fact that in two-and-a-quarter hours of live coverage, information relayed to the 702 audience by presenters, reporters, callers and officials from road and train authorities, made it eminently clear that problems were confined to the upper Blue Mountains, and that trains were stopped between Lithgow and Katoomba. We gave listeners accurate and up-to-date details about road closures and closure points, with one helpful caller even suggesting alternative routes.

Our coverage was comprehensive and accurate outlining the road, power and communications difficulties in the upper Blue Mountains caused by the severe weather conditions. This detailed information was also available on numerous ABC websites and social media accounts, reflecting the ABC’s commitment to getting this important information to audiences as soon as possible.

It should be noted that 702 actually commenced emergency broadcasting on Tuesday night, with rolling coverage and updates of warnings on radio and social media until the early hours of Wednesday.

702 has a strong relationship with the Blue Mountains region, with 702 broadcast teams working from there five times since the bushfire last year, talking with affected residents and community leaders, supporting and promoting community events, and attending news conferences and briefings by local councils and recovery authorities — a far cry from a place where “there be dragons”, as alleged by Stilgherrian.

Today 702 is broadcasting from Faulconbridge on the anniversary of the Blue Mountains fires, and we will continue to develop and strengthen our connections with this community as they prepare for another bushfire season.

What Nikolic doesn’t get about Iran

Rod Holesgrove writes: Re.”Andrew Nikolic’s Middle Eastern vision provides something for everyone” (yesterday).Nikolic seems to not understand anything about Iran. I have been in various parts of Iran for almost two weeks and am now in Tehran. If Nikolic knew anything about Iran’s history, ancient and recent, he would find that Iran has been beset from outside invasions and interferences for centuries. Neverthless Iranian Shiism does not come anywhere close to the aggresiveness of its Sunni neighbours, e.g. Saudi Wahabism.

If Nikolic were to visit Iran he would find that Iran is the one Muslim near east / west Asia country that is very tolerant of minorities. Both in Tehran  and in Esfahan I have visited Armenian cathedrals where Armenians and other Christians live happily with their Muslim neighbours. Iran is the one country in the region that is stable and represents low risks to Western interests.

Peter Fray

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