The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has issued an apology to Archbishop Makarios following an article published on 16 April.
At the time, a report by the ABC had claimed that a group of taxpayer-funded aged care homes – including St Basil’s in Faulkner – funnelled $31 million back into the coffers of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia in order to maintain the archbishop’s lavish lifestyle. The investigation pointed to the purchase of a $6.5 million Sydney apartment with harbour views, and claimed that the archbishop’s lifestyle seemed “excessive” for a man who had taken the vow of poverty.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese at the time had rejected the allegations, stating they were defamatory and groundless, and called on the ABC to show proof regarding these allegations.
Following the article, Neos Kosmos had reached out to the ABC and had been told that the state broadcaster stood behind its investigation and an apology would not be issued. In response to our questions, the following statement was released: “The investigation by Background Briefing into the management and operations of taxpayer-funded aged care homes owned by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, including one home that was the site of Australia’s deadliest coronavirus attack, was a matter of important public interest and complied with our Editorial Policies. The program and associated article were checked for accuracy and editorial fairness prior to publication. Background Briefing sought responses from third parties to all matters raised in the program and included all responses it received. The ABC stands by the thoroughness, accuracy and independence of its journalism.”
On its part the Archdiocese rejected the ABC’s claims from the start and had insisted on a retraction. Sources told Neos Kosmos that the comments given to the ABC were motivated by people working against the Archdiocese. In recent days, Kosmos newspaper in Sydney, published a report by Spyros Haralambous naming a Metropolitan Bishop in Greece behind the defamatory attacks against the church leader.
On Thursday, a statement was made by way of apology. “The ABC wishes to clarify that this story was not intended to suggest that Archbishop Makarios of Australia had personally funnelled money from St Basils to the Greek Orthodox Church, or that he had personally spent money intended for aged care on his own lifestyle. Further, the story was not intended to suggest that Archbishop Makarios had through any action on his part negligently caused the deaths of the 45 residents at the St Basils aged care home in Melbourne. Any such interpretation of the article is incorrect. To the extent any readers understood the story in this way, the ABC apologises to Archbishop Makarios for any hurt or offence experienced. This was never the ABC’s intention.”
The article has not been taken down from the ABC’s site, but appears with an Editor’s note stating that the ABC apologises for any “hurt or offence experienced”.
Neos Kosmos has reached out to Archbishop Makarios for comment, which will be forthcoming over the next few days.