ABC chair resigns over Australian political interference claims

The chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has resigned following allegations of political interference. Courtesy: BBC

The chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has resigned following allegations of political interference.

Justin Milne resigned from the national broadcaster amid reports he had asked for journalists to be fired because their reporting was disliked by the Australian government.

The government has denied pressuring the broadcaster over its staff.

ABC’s managing director Michelle Guthrie was fired on Monday.

Mr Milne said there had been no interference from the government, and he was stepping aside to “provide a release valve” from the public pressure.

“Nobody from the government has ever rung me and told me what to do in relation to the ABC,” he said.

‘Get rid of her’ 

The government has announced an inquiry into the allegations of improper intervention by Mr Milne, who is a former business partner of Australia’s ex-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

He is alleged to have lobbied for the sacking of two senior journalists whose reports were critical of the government.

In one leaked email about a reporter, economics journalist Emma Alberici, he wrote: “They hate her… get rid of her. We need to save the ABC, not Emma.”

Australian news outlets reported he had also directed Ms Guthrie to sack the ABC’s political editor, saying: “You have to shoot him.”

The revelations sparked protests from the broadcaster’s staff on Wednesday who called for Mr Milne’s removal and for the organisation’s editorial independence to be protected.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed Mr Milne’s exit.

“Time for the ABC to resume normal transmission, both independently and without bias,” he said on Twitter.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-45661871