15 August 2008
From: ABC Corporate_Affairs2
Corporate_Affairs2 dot ABC at abc dot net dot au
To: Seda Goulizar (newsrush at gmail dot com)
Sent: Friday, August 15, 2008
Subject: Saturday Extra - Giles Milton
Dear Seda Goulizar,
Thank you for your email regarding the interview between presenter Geraldine Doogue and author Giles Milton on the 21 June edition of Saturday Extra on ABC Radio National. The ABC regrets that . .
you were concerned by the views expressed by Mr Milton during this interview.
I should first explain that the interview was categorised by the ABC as topical and factual content for the purposes of the ABC's Code of Practice. This content category allows for the presentation of programs which reflect a wide range of audience interests, beliefs and perspectives, including programs containing controversial opinion and comment and programs focusing on particular points of view. Where such programs deal with matters of contention or public debate, a diversity of principal relevant perspectives must be demonstrated across the network or platform in an appropriate timeframe.
Giles Milton was invited to appear on Saturday Extra to discuss his latest book, 'Paradise Lost: Smyrna, 1922', which looks at the events in Izmir in September 1922 primarily from the perspective of the city's Levantine inhabitants. It is Mr Milton's opinion, based on his research, that the Turkish army was responsible for the great fires which destroyed much of the city in September 1922. He put this opinion forward during the interview.
The events discussed in the interview and in Mr Milton's book are matters of contention. To this day, different people and groups hold very strong opposing views as to who was responsible for the fires, views which are incompatible with each other. Accordingly, ABC Radio National is required to present a diversity of perspectives on these issues over time, to ensure that listeners are provided with an appropriate range of views on this controversial subject.
This requirement was met in a follow-up segment on the 12 July edition of Saturday Extra, in which Ms Doogue read out two pieces of correspondence, one of which was from the Turkish Ambassador to Australia, N. Murat Ersavci. Both correspondents ardently disputed the views expressed by Mr Milton, and expressed their alternative views on the historical events. By reading out these two pieces of correspondence, the program enabled listeners to more fully appreciate the highly contested nature of the subject, and gain an insight into the Turkish perspective. In this way, listeners were able to consider the different perspectives and form their own conclusions. The ABC is satisfied that this approach is consistent with the editorial requirements for topical and factual content set out in the Code of Practice.
Nonetheless, please be assured that your comments have been noted and conveyed to the producers of Saturday Extra and ABC Radio National management so that they are aware of your concerns regarding the interview with Mr Milton. Thank you for bringing these concerns to the ABC's attention. I have attached a link to the Code of Practice for your information: http://abc.net.au/corp/pubs/documents/200806_codeofpractice-revised_2008.pdf.
ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs
To: ABC Audience & Consumer Affairs
From: Seda Goulizar
Subject: Ms Geraldine Doogue's Izmir (Smyrna)1922" Program in ABC Radio (AU)
Date: 15/07/08 00:40
Letter Of Complaint To Ms Geraldine Doogue's "Smyrna" ABC Radio (AU) Program
Letter to Foreign Correspondent - Australian Broadcasting Corporation