In early August, after a Palestinian opened fire on a Tel Aviv street, injuring a police officer (who later succumbed to his wounds) before being shot and killed himself, the ABC chose to run this headline:
“Palestinian man killed in Tel Aviv shooting that leaves another critically injured”
The ZFA submitted a complaint to the ABC straight away. Earlier this month, the ABC Ombudsman found in our favour – sort of. It admitted the headline was ‘an issue’ and changed it, with a correction. But its explanation focused on the fact that the information in the article – that the police officer was injured, not killed – rather than the shockingly misleading headline.
Our complaint centred on the headline, noting that it was a clear breach of the ABC Code of Practice, which reads, “Do not present factual content in a way that will materially mislead the audience”.
As ZFA President Jeremy Leibler said in a statement after the ABC Ombudsman’s decision, “While it was proper for the ABC to change the headline, what is concerning is the total lack of acknowledgment of the clear breach in the ABC’s Code of Practice. The original headline manifestly misled readers as to the nature of the event. After reading the ABC’s explanation, we are still mystified how a supposedly impartial journalist could possibly think the headline was appropriate.”
The story – including our statement – was picked up by The Australian, you can read it here.