ABC’s Media Watch says Catalyst’s claims about mobile phone safety were “shockingly one-sided”

ABC TV’s Media Watch says that last week’s Catalyst program on the safety of mobile telecommunications was “shockingly one-sided”, giving 14 minutes to “controversial campaigners” alleging health effects from mobile phones compared to only two minutes for the Australian Government’s safety watchdog, which said there was no established evidence of a link between mobiles and cancer.

Media Watch host Paul Barry said although Catalyst’s reporter, Dr Maryanne Demasi’s, so-called “investigation” was important and on a legitimate subject she had “created another storm of protest with her report on the supposed dangers of Wi-Fi and mobile phones”.

“Remarkably, as you may know, this is not the first time one of Dr Demasi’s offerings has been scorned in this way,” he said.

In 2013, an official ABC investigation found that Dr Demasi’s two-part report on heart drugs, statins, had breached the national broadcaster’s editorial standard of impartiality and her report was taken down from the Catalyst website.

Mr Barry said: “Well, last week’s program was not quite as bad but it made many of the same mistakes. It was that Demasi’s program was shockingly one-sided.

“Six witnesses were lined up to tell us that mobile phones and Wi-Fi may be dangerous to our health and only one, the regulator (the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency), was there to tell us that the evidence is they are safe.

“And there was a similar imbalance in the time each side was given – 14 minutes to the prosecutors and just over two for the defence.

“What’s more the program took its lead from a controversial American campaigner, scientist Dr Devra Davis. And it seemed pretty clear Dr Demasi was ready to believe.

“And she gave too much weight to the side she favoured. And we reckon from ABC TV’s flagship science program it’s not good enough. And many viewers who contacted us agree.”

See transcript and program:

Also, see LINK to independent scientific experts’ criticism of Catalyst.