Viewers questioned national broadcasters’ coverage of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, with ABC preferring BBC coverage over content from its own journalists and production staff.
This comes after ABC confirmed they sent a total of 27 staff (15 journalists and presenters and 12 crews) to the UK to cover the death of the monarch.
On Twitter, people wondered why the state-funded broadcaster chose to air the BBC live on its 24-hour ABC news channel instead of reporting from its journalists.
At 4:00 p.m. Monday, ABC began an hour-long special news events hosted by Jeremy Fernandez, featuring features from prominent journalists such as Lisa Miller and Michael Rowland. However, by 5:00 pm, the national broadcaster had switched to live coverage of the official arrival and the BBC funeral service from 8:00 pm.
“Um, ABC sent all their workforce to London but they’re covering a BBC funeral, what are they all doing, watching it in a pub?” one account posted on Twitter.
“What was the point of ABC sending 27 staff to cover the Queen’s funeral if they were going to show footage to the BBC anyway?” shared by another user.
Several other users expressed the same opinion.
News.com.au has reached out to ABC for comment, however they have not responded at the time of publication.
Earlier, an ABC spokesman said the Queen’s death justified the presence of a large contingent as it was “a historic event and very important news.”
“For many Australians, this is one of the biggest news events of their lives,” reads a statement posted on news.com.au.
“As [the] ABC’s national public broadcaster plays an important role in keeping Australians informed of such major events as set out in ABC’s Bylaws.”
The broadcaster also clarified that they sent two teams to the UK to cover their News and ABC Radio platforms.
“Coverage plans are dynamic and not all of our people are working for the entire period,” a spokesperson said.
“Special coverage of critical events is built into our budgets. We do not break down operating expenses. All travel complies with our rules.”
This came as the broadcaster was criticized for its wide-ranging coverage of the royal family, which was seen by some as excessive.
Even prominent current and former ABC employees have joined in the backlash against the broadcaster, including ABC commentator and former Insiders anchor Barry Cassidy and former chief economic correspondent and late line Hosted by Emma Alberici.
“I suspect ABC has misinterpreted its audience,” Cassidy tweeted.
“If you want wall-to-wall royalty, you can get it anywhere else in abundance. ABC is better when it offers an alternative to populism.”
Alberici also criticized the story of a family that shared the Queen’s love for Corgis, sharing a screenshot of the story and tweeting “News” followed by rolled-eye emojis.
The death of a long-reigning monarch has also reignited the debate over whether Australia should secede from the Commonwealth and become a republic.
Questions were also raised regarding the monarch’s attitude towards Australians, while prevailing anti-royal sentiment saw the queen as a symbol of slavery and colonization, which led to mistreatment of indigenous people such as Aboriginal Australian and Torres Strait Islander communities.
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