Ray Martin is going to investigate Q&A over the Zaky Mallah fiasco

Ray Martin will review the Q&A program. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Veteran TV journalist Ray Martin, who began his media career at the ABC, will investigate the June 22 Q&A program which featured convicted criminal Zaky Mallah.

The ABC Board has asked Martin and former SBS managing director Shaun Brown to conduct the review, which will look at the last 22 programs broadcast this year.

It will consider audience selection, panel selection and make-up, subject selection, and the social media strategy, including on-air tweets.

Ray Martin has previously appeared as a panellist on the show and worked on programs such as Four Corners and 60 Minutes.

In a statement the Board said it agreed with management’s conclusion that letting Mallah appear live on TV was wrong.

“The nature of the Q&A broadcast made this program different to Mallah’s other media appearances. Given his criminal background and past public statements, the live broadcast meant that the ABC was not in a position to manage unpredictable or inappropriate actions or responses. There was inadequate consideration given to important issues around his presence in the studio, considering his previous actions, his desire for the media spotlight and some of his public comments,” the statement said.

“He should not have been allowed to participate in the program from the studio audience.”

The statement says the show’s executive producer, Peter McEvoy, had received a formal warning under the misconduct provisions of the ABC’s industrial agreement.

“The Board considers that the program should have a long future on the ABC and decisions to make any changes to its format and operational practices should be made after careful consideration,” the statement said.

Their report will be published later in the year. A review of Mallah’s appearance on Q&A and security arrangements for the show, conducted by communication minister Malcolm Turnbull’s department, was completed this week but has not yet been released.

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