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M E D I A     R E L E A S E

New Website Puts Spotlight On ABC Bias 19 October 1998

The pressure on ABC management to respond appropriately to an unresolved three-year complaint by the Foundation for Humanity’s Adulthood (FHA) moved up a gear last Friday night with the launch of the Foundation’s website at www.fha.asn.au at the Australian Museum.

Introducing the night, Tim Macartney-Snape AM, Australia’s most distinguished mountaineer, spoke from personal experience on the ABC’s intransigence to properly address disputes and the importance of democratic principles of freedom of expression and fair debate.

In March this year, the Australian Broadcasting Authority censured the ABC for seriously misrepresenting the FHA in a Four Corners program aired in 1995, ruling that the program was “inaccurate, unbalanced and partial”.

When the ABC did not exercise its right to challenge the ruling, the Authority asked for an apology, but the national broadcaster has refused to comply.

The current campaign, which included two major advertisements in The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald last week, is among a number of actions taken by the FHA to make the ABC accountable for its behaviour.

“The national broadcaster’s failure to accept the umpire’s decision should be of great concern to all Australians,” said Mr Macartney-Snape.

“We may have been knocked down but we got up and we’re still here, we’re here to stay and the information we support is here to stay,” he said.

In launching the Foundation’s new website, winner of the 1990 Templeton Prize, Emeritus Professor Charles Birch talked about the nature of holistic science and the need for social tolerance in considering such matters.

“I am happy to launch this website for three reasons; one, the questions the Foundation asks are important; two, the Foundation has had a positive and creative influence on the lives of many of you, some of whom I know and three; in the 21st century the world will not be run by those who possess information alone. We are drowning in information while starving for wisdom,” said Professor Birch.

“What we need are people who can put the two together, the right information with the capacity to make important choices wisely and the Foundation can bring together the right information and wise choices,” he said.

“We are launching our website to present the Foundation’s research and understandings to the public and to encourage discussion and debate,” said founding director, Jeremy Griffith.

“The FHA’s work is of utmost importance to the future of humanity because it deals with the crux issue before us as a species.

“The launch of this website is the next step in taking this biological explanation of the human condition to the world,” he said.

Professor Birch concluded the night’s presentation with an apt quote from Reinhold Niebuhr, ‘Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.’