Last updated: June 17, 2010

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ABC is as bad as the KGB, says Muirhead lawyer

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THE ABC has been compared with the KGB for its treatment of employee Andy Muirhead, who has been accused of accessing child pornography.

The national broadcaster immediately took Mr Muirhead's popular Friday night television show, The Collectors, off the air when the charges became public last week.

Mr Muirhead is on leave without pay and will not present the breakfast show on ABC local radio in Hobart.

Lawyer Greg Barns said the ABC's actions in removing The Collectors website from the internet, along with all other references to Mr Muirhead, were akin to actions of the Russian KGB.

"Taking a leave of absence is one thing but to immediately make that person disappear when they haven't even had their first appearance in court is appalling," Mr Barns said.

"What they have done in their swift execution of him could lead one to think he was guilty of these charges before he has had a fair hearing.

"It is very concerning that the ABC has put its own self-interested branding objectives in front of one of the core values of Australia, which is the presumption of innocence."

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