Ken Inglis: Historian hits ABC book ruling (Australia)

Historians in the News

THE ABC's decision not to publish a biography about broadcaster Alan Jones was regrettable and pointless, a historian of the national broadcaster says.

Emeritus Professor Ken Inglis, who wrote a history of the ABC, said yesterday he was concerned that the ABC's decision not to publish the book by long-standing Four Corners journalist Chris Masters could be used to stop the broadcast of controversial programs.

Jonestown was commissioned by ABC Enterprises, which raises money to support the national broadcaster, after Masters profiled the Sydney talk-back radio host for Four Corners in 2002.

On Tuesday, ABC acting managing director Murray Green said the decision not to publish the book stemmed from fears that it would incur hundreds of thousand of dollars in legal costs.

Professor Inglis, whose updated history of the ABC will be released this month, said if concerns about legal costs were given top priority, programs such as Masters' 1987 expose of corruption in Queensland and his 1983 investigation of NSW rugby could have been stopped.

"This is a serious concern that needs to be cleared up," Professor Inglis said. "I can't recall anything like this happening over a publication at the ABC."

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