Ombudsman clears ABC over coronation broadcast

·2-min read

The ABC's independent ombudsman has cleared the broadcaster of breaching editorial standards during its coverage of the King's coronation.

Journalist Stan Grant was a guest during one segment of the coverage and said the crown represented the invasion and theft of Aboriginal land.

While the ABC's coverage ran for eight hours in total, the segment in which he participated sparked 1832 complaints from the public.

Hundreds of those complaints consisted of racist attacks, the ABC's managing director David Anderson told a senate estimate hearing on Wednesday.

It led to Mr Grant deciding to step away as host of the Q&A program last week.

"To those who have abused me and my family, I would just say: If your aim was to hurt me, well, you've succeeded," Grant said.

"I'm sorry that I must have given you so much cause to hate me so much, to target me and my family, to make threats against me."

The ombudsman's decision came as police charged a man for allegedly making threats online towards Grant.

The complaints to the ABC contended that the coronation coverage was "unbalanced, biased, disrespectful, inappropriate, offensive, anti-monarchist and poorly timed", the ombusman's report said.

But no specific facts were disputed and the complaints focused on a perceived lack of alternative views.

"It is distorting to see the approximately 40-plus minutes in isolation from the coverage as a whole," ABC News said in response to the ombudsman's investigation.

"While the program canvassed difficult topics it was at all times conducted respectfully ... there were no errors of accuracy."

Ombudsman Fiona Cameron found the discussion was newsworthy and legitimate in the context of the ABC's broader coronation coverage and the broadcast did not breach the corporation's editorial standards.

But she found there were clearly instances where the footage being presented of events in London did not relate to the critical nature of the panel discussion in Australia.

That was "jarring and distracting" for some of the audience, she found.

ABC managing director David Anderson has apologised to Grant, saying his experiences since the broadcast have been "distressing and confronting".

The findings come as police charged a man over alleged online threats towards Grant.

Sydney police said on Thursday they had received a report earlier in the week about alleged online harrassment towards a 59-year-old man.

Police arrested a 41-year-old man at an address in Fairfield Heights in Sydney's west on Wednesday.

He has been charged with using a carriage service to threaten serious harm and to menace/harass/offend.

The man was granted bail and will face court again later in the month.