Statement on Australian ABC’s Reports on The Epoch Times 

July 21, 2020 Updated: July 21, 2020

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, aired a video and a radio program that described The Epoch Times in the context of propaganda used to attack the spiritual practice of Falun Gong.

ABC published this loaded presentation without ever seeking a response from The Epoch Times, in clear violation of its own editorial standards, which it must fulfill as part of its Charter Obligations.

After The Epoch Times became aware through an ABC media release that the program was to be aired, we contacted ABC on July 17, 2020, seeking the ability to respond to any allegations, but no effort was made by ABC to request comment from The Epoch Times for its July 21 programs.

ABC’s attacks on Falun Gong fell on the 21st anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) persecution of the practice, which began on July 20, 1999.

ABC used the same narrative the CCP has used in its propaganda attacking Falun Gong and selectively picked a few interviewees to project a negative view of The Epoch Times.

As Australia’s national broadcaster, ABC has been considered a respected media outlet. At this point in time, when Australia as a country is standing up to communist China and its influence in Australia, ABC has produced something that plays into the hands of the CCP. Previously, the CCP could only dream of having such propaganda published by a Western news outlet in its own name.

These reports come after years of efforts by ABC to make business deals with China’s communist regime—and China’s well-documented efforts to expand its influence and leverage over Western media.

For example, in 2014, ABC signed an exclusive deal with China’s Shanghai Media Group, which it boasted gave it the most extensive access to Chinese audiences of any Western broadcaster.

In a June 2017 article, ABC acknowledged that the company collaborates with Chinese partners “in deals spanning everything from entertainment to news programming.” It also stated that ABC’s then-managing director, Michelle Guthrie, would travel to “Beijing to meet Chinese partners, including CCTV representatives.”

The question to be raised is, were CCP state media officials directly involved in the creation of these reports attacking Falun Gong and The Epoch Times, or did ABC make them to please the CCP and thus strengthen its business ties?

The Epoch Times is an independent media outlet started by Chinese immigrants in America. It is nonpartisan, does not support any political candidate, and is free from the influence of any government, corporation, or political party.

The Chinese regime has sought to attack and shut us down since we began 20 years ago, and false reporting in Western media organizations only strengthens these efforts.

Nonetheless, we have not been crushed by the CCP, despite its huge national resources, and we will survive a Western media outlet’s hostile reports.

It is time for Western news organizations to reflect on what the responsibility of the media is—to defend freedom, or to serve a communist regime?