Labor MP used taxpayer funds for ad attack on ABC reporter

A federal Labor MP has admitted he charged taxpayers to take out an ad attacking an ABC journalist.

Melbourne backbencher Michael Danby took out the ad in Australian Jewish News, which suggested ABC foreign correspondent Sophie McNeill had "double standards" when reporting on Israel and Palestine.

The ad, which features two men praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, claims McNeill filed "no report" on three Jewish Israelis who were stabbed to death in July while celebrating Shabbat.

Labor MP Michael Danby has taken out an ad in Australian Jewish News criticising the ABC's Sophie McNeill. Photo: Twitter

Labor MP Michael Danby has taken out an ad in Australian Jewish News criticising the ABC's Sophie McNeill. Photo: Twitter

The ABC has since rubbished those claims, pointing out in a statement that McNeill "gave due prominence" to the fatal stabbings and filed reports for TV, radio and the national broadcaster's website.

"The coverage included graphic accounts of the attack from witnesses and first responders," the statement reads.

"This advertisement is part of a pattern of inaccurate and highly inappropriate personal attacks on Ms McNeill by Mr Danby. The ABC has complete confidence in the professionalism of Ms McNeill. Despite unprecedented scrutiny and obvious pre-judgement by Mr Danby and others, her work has been demonstrably accurate and impartial."

Mr Danby admitted he had used a "small amount" from his taxpayer-funded electoral allowances to take out the "discounted ad".

"We have advertised far more extensively over the past year on penalty rates, marriage equality, the NBN, unfair federal infrastructure spending allocation to Victoria, Human Rights and apportion our expenditure to cover all interests in Melbourne Ports. All advertising from my office meets parliamentary guidelines," Mr Danby told Fairfax Media.

He said contrary to the ABC's claims, Ms McNeill did not mention the Jewish Soloman family by name or give them the same prominence and treatment she gave the Palestinian Shamasneh family.

Paul Murphy, the chief executive of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, also defended McNeill's coverage.

"Sophie McNeill won two Walkleys last year for her work," he said. "The criticism from Michael Danby is ludicrous and offensive."

It is not the first time the MP for Melbourne Ports has criticised McNeill's reporting. In the past, he has called her an "advocacy journalist" on social media and has claimed she is obsessed with the "Palestinian narrative".

This story Labor MP used taxpayer funds for ad attack on ABC reporter first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.