"The ABC, in cahoots with the National Press Club, pulled the Nine Network's election debate feed on behalf of the Liberal Party in an "outrageous act of censorship
", Nine's news chief John Westacott says.
The network's feed from the televised debate between Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd last night was cut after the network broadcast the controversial "worm" with its coverage, he said.
The ABC has denied the allegation and said it had "no role" in the decision to cut the feed, according to a spokeswoman.
"All decisions about the host broadcast feed, including decisions about who it would be provided to, were made by the National Press Club," she said.
Nine was warned its feed was going to be cut and was able to switch to take a feed first from the ABC and then, when that was cut, from Sky News, said Mr Westacott, Nine's director of news and current affairs.
He insists there was "absolutely no agreement" between Nine and the press club over its coverage.
"We were asked not to use the worm, that's correct, and we didn't agree with any of the conditions that were laid down by the Press Club, including charging us for the event," he told ABC Radio this morning.
"We were given warning as they were going to pull it, so we cut to our back-up feed and then they threatened to pull that too," he said."
Labels: censorship, John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Labour Party, Liberal Party