Home Wi-Fi Wi-Fi stuff-up: ABC alters online transcripts again

Wi-Fi stuff-up: ABC alters online transcripts again

The ABC has been caught out once again altering its online transcripts after it was reported to have omitted necessary details.

Last week, the ABC omitted the name of Dr Maryanne Demasi from the list of credits at the end of the transcript of its weekly online science programme, Catalyst.

iTWire reported this, pointing out that interviews done by Demasi had been included in the programme.

Now the ABC has quietly slipped in Demasi's name in the credits.

Demasi, a reporter for Catalyst since 2006, was taken off-air until this month, after a programme that she hosted on mobiles and Wi-Fi and their alleged connection to cancer, was removed from the corporation's website in July following an inquiry.

The programme was initially put to air in February and earned a good deal of criticism.

As seen from the screenshots below, the alterations made by the ABC in the transcript of the 23 August Catalyst episode are clearly noticeable; Demasi's name has been included among the producers, but in the apparent hurry, the word has been left as "Producer".

without demasi

This screenshot shows a single producer for the 23 August Catalyst programme.

with demasi

In this screenshot, taken on the night of 31 August, Demasi's name is included among the producers.

The last time the ABC was caught altering transcripts by iTWire also concerns Demasi. The host of Media Watch, Paul Barry, passed judgement on the science reporter in July, saying she should be terminated by the ABC.

These words were initially missing from the online transcript until iTWire pointed it out to Nick Leys, media manager for the corporation, who attributed it to a "technical issue".

The omission of Demasi's name from the credits of the 23 August programme has been said by some sources to be a way of preparing the ground for her sacking.

Demasi has attracted controversy once before, when a programme she made about the alleged connection between statins and heart disease was taken offline after the two-part series generated a great deal of criticism.

The ABC has some form when it comes to getting rid of staff who do not toe the corporation's line.

Sources have pointed iTWire to the case of Nick Ross, a former technology editor. He was told to to write articles championing the Coalition's approach to building the NBN in order to balance his reasoned conclusion in a long article that a FttP network — which just happens to be Labor's approach — was the right one for Australia.

Ross has claimed he was gagged over his views and then forced out. The ABC contests this characterisation.


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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.