Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 410. Updated Tuesday, 20 May 2014

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Catalyst breached ABC standards

An investigation into the controversial content of an Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC) Catalyst program has found the program breached ABC standards on impartiality.

Managing Director of ABC, Mark Scott said the network's Audience and Consumer Affairs Unit had released its findings regarding a controversial Catalyst program on statins and heart disease.

Mr Scott said the investigation was prompted by a number of complaints into two Catalyst programs, collectively titled Heart Of The Matter, aired in October last year.

He said while acknowledging the importance of public health issues relating to the efficacy of heart disease treatment and the contrasting opinions of highly-qualified scientists, the A&CA has concluded that the second episode breached ABC standards on impartiality.

Heart disease programs withdrawn

Mr Scott said both programs would be removed from the ABC website and information would be added to the program website and the ABC Corrections page to advise of the steps that had been taken.

He said the PM program had also added an Editor's Note to the transcript of its story Backlash against ABC's Catalyst program questioning heart disease-cholesterol links, and an appropriate entry had been made on the ABC Corrections page.

The note on the Catalyst website would also reinforce the advice made in the second Catalyst program, that viewers should not make any changes to their prescribed regimen of medications without seeking appropriate medical advice.

Mr Scott said the A&CA report showed this has been a thorough investigation involving complex issues and a wide range of material.

"The link between statins and heart disease is a matter warranting investigation and coverage on our programs," he said.

"The issue has been extensively covered overseas and continues to be the subject of debate within medical circles. I would like to see our science programs on radio and TV work together to revisit it, whilst taking absolute care to comply with our rigorous editorial policies."

The report of the investigation is available at this PS News link.

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