Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the Royal Australian Navy deserves an apology from the ABC over its reporting of claims asylum seekers suffered burns in their care.
The ABC on Tuesday night said its choice of wording could have been more precise, but defended its decision to report on the treatment of asylum seekers on a navy boat.
The national broadcaster has come under fire over reporting asylum seeker claims they burnt their hands when forced by navy personnel to hold hot engine parts on an asylum seeker vessel.
“We regret if our reporting led anyone to mistakenly assume that the ABC supported the asylum seekers’ claims,” a joint statement by the news organisation’s managing director, Mark Scott, and director of news Kate Torney.
Ms Bishop said the statement didn’t go far enough.
“Well it is a matter for the navy to accept a statement of regret. I thought the ABC would do the right thing and having acknowledged that their reporting was substandard at best that they would apologise,” she told ABC radio.
“If the ABC refuses to do that, well I think that is a reflection on the ABC. It has been a very unfortunate incident.”
The federal government has strenuously denied the asylum seekers’ allegations, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison describing the claims as “baseless and unsubstantiated”.