ABC reporter slammed by broadcasting regulator for describing former PM Tony Abbott as ‘destructive’

An ABC political reporter has been slammed by the broadcasting regulator for describing former prime minister Tony Abbott as 'destructive'.The 7.30 program's Canberra correspondent Andrew Probyn earned a rebuke from the Australian Communications and Media Authority for his October 2017 report.'Tony Abbott, already the most destructive politician of his generation, now intends waging war on what he calls "environmental theology",' he said outside Parliament House.The broadcasting regulator said Probyn's piece-to-camera, on the ABC's flagship current affairs program, breached broadcasting standards of impartiality, describing the statement about Tony Abbott as 'declarative and not in keeping with the scope of the factual matters presented earlier in the report'.'The ACMA considered the statement judgemental, not in language considered as analysis and one that the ordinary reasonable viewer would have understood as a pejorative descriptor,' it said on Tuesday afternoon.It found the ABC had breached of standard 4.1of the code 'in that the report was not presented with due impartiality'.'The impartiality provisions in the ABC's own code require it to demonstrate balance and fair treatment when presenting news, and avoid conveying a prejudgement', ACMA chairwoman Nerida O'Loughlin said.This was the ABC's  second breach of the broadcasting code since Julia Gillard's Labor government introduced impartiality rules in 2011.'While this demonstrates strong compliance with these important provisions of the code, the ABC did not get it right on this occasion,' Ms O'Loughlin said.Andrew Probyn, a former Canberra press gallery reporter with The West Australian, said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was unable to do anything 'to appease Tony Abbott'.He argued Mr Abbott, who was overthrown in a September 2015 Liberal Party leadership coup, was frustrating the Turnbull Government on energy policy.

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