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ABC slammed for Swisse partnership

AAP logoAAP 24/08/2016 By Lisa Robinson

The ABC has met strong opposition from within after announcing a partnership deal with vitamin and supplement brand Swisse Wellness.

ABC International's media service Australia Plus announced commercial partnerships with Swisse Wellness, Monash University and the Victorian State Government, which will get exclusive branding and advertising opportunities.

Swisse previously sued the ABC for defamation over a 2013 satirical segment on The Checkout program. The matter was settled out of court.

The ABC says partnership brands won't have any influence over editorial content, but some people have raised concerns over the decision.

"How is it going to be possible for the ABC to maintain relationships with commercial parties such as Swisse when it also broadcasts shows that Swisse dislikes?" Nick Murray, executive producer of ABC TV shows Gruen and The Checkout, told TV Tonight.

"It's a disgrace. It shows an appalling lack of judgement from ABC International."

Health experts have also slammed the partnership, saying Swisse Wellness misuses scientific claims such as "clinically proven" in its marketing.

"I certainly accept that promoting Australian education and business internationally is a good idea, but I do not think that promoting shonky products through Swisse Wellness is going to do a lot for Australia's reputation," academic Dr Ken Harvey, an adjunct associate professor in Monash University's department of epidemiology and preventive medicine, told the ABC.

ABC has been contacted for comment.

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