News: Broadcaster apologises for workplace racism claims

Diversity

Broadcaster apologises for workplace racism claims

ABC News Director Justin Stevens expressed dismay over incidents of racism, bigotry and cultural insensitivity among staff, as documented in an internal report.
Broadcaster apologises for workplace racism claims

The head of the news division of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has issued an apology to staff after allegations of racism at work came to light in an internal report.

The document, presented by the ABC’s diversity committee, described encounters of racism and cultural insensivity towards members of the news team. A number of them come from diverse cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds.

News director Justin Stevens emailed employees, saying the incidents “should never happen”. He pointed to the management’s failure to provide support to culturally diverse team members as well as a problematic incident reporting system. 

Stevens also mentioned abuse and hate speech circulating online and on social media.

Read more: How to counter hate speech at work

“The ABC will not allow or tolerate any racism in the workplace. Ever,” he wrote.

“Our newsrooms, teams and workplace must be respectful, inclusive and welcoming at all times of all employees. No one should ever feel that they don’t belong at the ABC because of their cultural background.”

The email did not specify details of individual cases. But some members reportedly felt excluded or that their voices were “not heard in team discussions as they ought to be,” Stevens said.

“To anyone in News who has ever experienced any racism or bigotry in our workplace, current and former news employees, as director, news I would like to express my sorrow for that and make a heartfelt apology. I am sorry.”

Stevens said the management will work to ensure all employees are heard, and that managers are trained to handle reports of abuse or aggression.

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Topics: Diversity, Culture

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