The ABC was forced to issue a clarification after airing claims that the official ‘No’ campaign used ‘AI-generated Aboriginals’ in its ads.
On Sunday, ABC’s Insiders aired a special program to discuss Indigenous Voice in Parliament, where guest John Paul Janke made the extraordinary claim.
Janke, host of NITV’s flagship show The Point, said the No campaign had “multiple social media pages”.
“Some of them are now using AI with black indigenous characters to try to make it look like it’s an indigenous person supporting the No campaign,” he said.
‘No’ campaign leaders Jacinta Nampijinpa Price and Warren Mundine (pictured) reacted furiously at claims they had used AI-generated aboriginals in their ads, calling them a ‘complete and utter lie’
The Insiders presenter, David Speers, asked him to clarify if that came from the ‘No’ campaign.
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Janke insisted they were, adding: “Obviously they’re supporting different voices and they’re under the guise of moderate voices against Voice, like they’re Australians for Unity, but they’re using AI from a black character supporting the No case.” .
Australians for Unity is the name of the joint campaign led by Australia’s Independent Minister, Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, and businessman Warren Mundine.
Insiders host Speers did not dispute Mr. Janke’s claim or request any evidence to support the claims.
But shortly after the show aired, ABC was forced to issue a clarification.
“Insider Information: On the show aired on Sunday, August 6, panelist John Paul Janke described the use of AI-generated video by some Indigenous Voice of Parliament opponents,” the clarification read.
“ABC wishes to clarify that the campaign coordinated by Warren Mundine and Jacinta Nampijinpa Price – Australians for Unity, is not affiliated with the videos referenced.”
‘No’ campaign co-director Jacinta Nampijinpa Price called Mr Janke’s comments a ‘complete and utter lie’.
“Of all the racist, offensive and inaccurate things that have been said about the No campaign, this is probably the worst,” he said.
ABC was later forced to issue a clarification regarding Janke’s false claims.
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‘According to the ABC, the No campaign has created fake AI indigenous Australians who vote no. A complete and utter lie!
His No campaign co-leader Warren Mundine also called the claims a “lie”.
‘How low can ABC and the Yes campaign sink!’
Daily Mail Australia asked Mr Janke to provide evidence to support his claim, but received no response.
His Twitter page is blocked, though it’s unclear when he took that action.
It is understood that he remains faithful to his reports.
SBS later responded on his behalf.
‘Yesterday on Insiders, John Paul Janke mentioned some of the questionable activity taking place on social media by those campaigning ‘No’ for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
‘Some of these videos using AI have attracted over 85,000 views and your comments highlight the important discussion that is needed about the nature of such campaign techniques.
‘At NITV and through our coverage on the SBS network, we are focused on ensuring that all Australians have access to accurate news and information during this debate, including countering misinformation and disinformation.
“We support John Paul in continuing to raise awareness and understanding of the nature of what he and the NITV team are seeing and experiencing on social media, and the impact of this on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
Mr. Janke, who also runs his own construction company, Rork Projects, was co-chair of the NAIDOC National Committee.
Constitutional Equality, a fringe organization of the ‘No’ campaign, admitted to using AI on its Facebook page.
“I wonder what’s wrong with using an affordable video production technique that uses an AI avatar,” the group posted on Sunday.
‘Do you think our Avatar is trying to pose as indigenous? Or does it reflect the common person in our multicultural society?
Are these accusations fair? Is the YES campaign realizing that they don’t have a rational case to change the constitution and resort to libel?’
The No campaign, under its previous name of Fair Australia before merging with Recognize a Better Way to create Australians for Unity, used stock footage of Aboriginal families instead of real people in one of its brochures.