SBS apologises to Hydro Tasmania for misrepresentation
Hydro Tasmania has welcomed an apology from SBS Television for the way it portrayed the business in a recent Dateline program on renewable energy development in Sarawak.
A formal complaint was lodged as a result of concern over the misleading and damaging nature of the program broadcast on 21 August, which demonstrated a total lack of balance and was a blatant misrepresentation of Hydro Tasmania’s activities in Sarawak and its relationship with Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB), a state-owned electricity business.
The SBS Ombudsman agreed, and in a letter dated 4 September 2012 advised she had found the program to be ‘inaccurate and misleading’ and in breach of the SBS Code of Practice as it relates to accuracy, impartiality and balance.
Further, the Ombudsman stated the program did not include ‘accurate and balancing material that was available’ and unduly favoured views critical of the business ‘over both facts and appropriate balancing views’.
The Ombudsman accepted that the relationship between Hydro Tasmania and SEB was ‘misreported and misrepresented’.
CEO Roy Adair thanked SBS for the speed with which it sought to resolve the complaint.
“The nature of the apology from SBS highlights the degree of gravity relating to the misrepresentation and the bias that was evident to all but the program’s producers and the journalist in question. This is despite us providing an extensive interview to the journalist in which the facts of our activities in Sarawak were made perfectly clear,” Mr Adair said.
Hydro Tasmania through its consulting business Entura provides a range of professional services to renewable energy projects in Sarawak. It is not building dams in that state as was claimed by the Dateline program.
Entura is just one of a number of international consulting businesses working in Sarawak on these projects. It has provided a range of advice, including training, safety, feasibility studies and undertaking technical due diligence as SEB seeks to develop the state’s significant renewable energy resources. Details of the partnership with SEB have been outlined in Hydro Tasmania’s last two annual reports, along with information on some of the specific projects.
Hydro Tasmania is Australia’s leading clean energy business while Entura provides professional services in Tasmania, across Australia, in India, the Asia-Pacific region and recently in southern Africa.