Australia’s ABC is in the news this week after a new report found it had a “substantial and pervasive” problem with copywriting in Australia.
The ABC has long been plagued by plagiarism problems and the ABC is currently the subject of a class action by a group of former copywriters and copywriters’ rights activists (CRAs).
The CRAs allege the ABC has been using plagiarism to create a misleading impression about the ABC’s reporting, and that the ABC was not being honest about its use of CRAs.
In a letter to the ABC, the CRAs’ senior legal officer, Peter McQuade, wrote that the “ABC is guilty of serious plagiarism” and said the ABC “has a significant and pervasive problem” with copywriters in Australia and the world.
The letter also accused the ABC of using CRAs as “guinea pigs”.
The ABC said it would conduct a full review of its copywriting practices.
The CRA letter also called for an independent audit of the ABC and a public apology from the broadcaster.
“This is a scandalous, irresponsible and indefensible breach of trust that has no place in our society and one that will have an impact on the ABC for many years to come,” the CRA wrote.
The complaint follows a series of similar complaints from former copywriter Paul Dickson, who is also the president of the CRCA.
“We have been telling the ABC that we had a problem with the ABC,” Mr Dickson told the ABC.
“They did a very poor job of reporting the information and they had a big problem with that.”
He added that there was “a big problem” in Australia about “the lack of integrity in the ABC” and he wanted to see the ABC reformed.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is also conducting a review into the ABC copywriting and the CRAS has also called on the government to “take urgent action” to address the issue.
ABC chief executive Mark Scott said in a statement: “We are investigating a complaint that a number of ABC employees, including myself, used CRAs in their copywriting.
This is a serious matter that needs to be addressed immediately.”
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ABC News understands that the Australian Press Council (APC) has also been investigating the ABC over the issue and a spokesperson said that “APC is confident it has identified a number to the BBC and is satisfied with the content of those reports”.
ABC News said it was “looking into the matter” and that it was aware of the letter from the CRAA.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.