The death of the former colleague of the presenter of an Australian radio show is raising fresh questions about the impartiality of Australian media.
In February, the ABC published a story about the news of former ABC radio host Andrew Alcock’s death, which the broadcaster has since confirmed.
In an interview with the ABC, Mr Alcock said he was shocked by the ABC’s handling of the story.
Mr Alcoff said he had spoken to ABC staff in the days following the story’s publication and had been told they were unaware of the circumstances surrounding Mr Alscock’s illness.
But Mr Alcock said he thought the ABC was trying to minimise the media’s attention on the issue and to protect the reputation of the organisation.
“I think it was more a cover-up than anything else,” he said.
“There’s a lot of things going on in the media that I can’t fathom that could’ve got away with it, even though the news was absolutely clear that he was in an intensive care unit.”
Mr Alcanck said he knew the ABC had not disclosed the details of Mr Alscocks illness, but the broadcaster did not give any details about his condition.
“What I was shocked about is that the ABC didn’t tell the whole story, they didn’t give us the full story,” he told ABC radio.
“So why wasn’t there a proper investigation, a full investigation, that was done, so that people can come to their own conclusions about this?”
ABC staff have said they believe there were other reasons why the ABC did not disclose the story to the public, including Mr Albecks “informal” death.
“If you don’t know the details about Andrew Alscoff’s death or what his condition was, I can only assume that the decision to not disclose them was made at the ABC and not at the hospital,” ABC News editor in chief Matt Gurney said in a statement.
“The ABC and Andrew Alschill were both aware of the extent of his illness, and we had a responsibility to provide accurate and timely information about Andrew’s condition.”
We also have a duty to protect Andrew’s privacy and do so with the utmost sensitivity, which we have.
“Our response to his death was consistent with our obligation to protect him and his family, and it was important to us to give Andrew the privacy that he needed.”
News of Mr Alvord’s death was reported in the Australian Financial Review and Fairfax newspapers.
Mr Alvords death has sparked a debate about the nature of impartiality in media and the integrity of journalism.
The ABC’s Alcoffe said the organisation did not provide the full details of the illness of Mr Alfcock and said the ABC could not be held responsible for its failure to provide this information.
“It’s a huge failure by the media, and certainly by ABC,” he added.
Mr Alfbeck’s family, including his son, Chris, have told the ABC they are concerned about the lack of a full and independent investigation.
“Andrew Alcock was a good man, a good father, a loving father and a wonderful husband,” Chris Alvord said.