TV 3 News – Complaint
I wish to lodge a formal complaint against an item that was featured in the 6pm News on Tuesday 9 July 2013. The item concerned the bill that was being debated in the Texas House of Representatives in Austin, Texas. The item also included an interview with Julie Burkhart, the CEO of the Tiller late term abortion facility in Wichita, Kansas.
My complaint is that in my opinion the item breaches the Free to Air Television Code of Broadcasting Standards 4 and 7.
Standard 4 Controversial Issue -Viewpoints
The item gave the impression that the Texas bill was an assault on women’s rights and had little support in the community. The bill was passed on Wednesday by the Texas House of Representatives by 96 to 49. It is now expected to be passed in the Texas Senate. The only viewpoint provided was from the pro-abortion lobby. There was a brief comment from a woman in the pro-life movement which really added nothing to the item. There was no comment in support of the bill. The Bill outlawed the killing of the unborn after 20 weeks gestation. This was to fulfil the desire of the Administration to protect mothers and their babies of more than 20 weeks gestation from the violence of abortion. The bill also required abortion facilities to comply with the standards set for surgical medical centres and thirdly the bill required that abortionists had admitting rights with a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility to ensure that patients suffering complications from an abortion could be quickly and safely cared for. There was no reference to these important provisions. The item failed to reveal that many of those protesting violently against the abortion bill were agitators paid by the pro-abortion group “Craig’s List”.
Standard 5 Accuracy and Standard 7 Denigration.
Julie Burkhart, the CEO of the reopened late term abortion facility in Wichita, Kansas was interviewed. She said that she feared for her life which had been threatened, presumably by members of the pro-life movement. She said they were saying,” Where are you going to be so we can kill you.” This is a very serious statement and it is challenged. There is nothing on the internet that would substantiate this alleged threat to her life. The Wichita Eagle newspaper interviewed Julie Burkhart as recent as 28 June and presumably made no mention of any threat to her life. I believe that the ethics of responsible journalism would require that such a claim be substantiated before it is broadcast to the nation. This is a calculated distraction away from the real violence that is happening in the abortion facility. The item portrays members of the pro-life movement as terrorists and a threat to the life of those who are engaged in the industry of inflicting violence on hapless mothers and killing innocent and defenceless pre-born children. The item failed to reveal that threats have been made on the life of the Lieutenant Governor Henry Dewhurst for his support of the bill. There had also been reports of threats to rape the daughters of Senators who supported the bill. The reporting of these real threats of violence would have been accurate and have provided balance. You should be aware that the pro-life movement in the United States is totally opposed to violence against women, the unborn and those involved in the abortion industry.
In conclusion the item is biased inaccurate and denigrates the pro-life movement by inferring that it supports violence, it does not. TV 3 is a responsible broadcaster and upholds very high standards. In our view, it is disappointing that on this occasion that your organisation has failed to meet those standards.