Fairness and balance not strange: minister

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield says expecting the ABC to be fair is a tenet of journalism.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield says expecting the ABC to be fair is a tenet of journalism.

The Turnbull government insists a push to legislate that the ABC must be "fair and balanced" will not change anything about the public broadcaster's existing editorial policies.

The change to the ABC Act - yet to be brought to parliament - is part of a deal the government did with One Nation in exchange for passing its overhaul of media laws.

Communication Minister Mitch Fifield points out the ABC's existing editorial policies talk about the importance of fair treatment.

"There's been a bit of uproar about that (proposed change), but there shouldn't be," he told ABC TV on Sunday.

"These are not new or strange journalistic concepts."

The ABC's editorial policy says it is guided by "hallmarks of impartiality" that include "a balance that follows the weight of evidence" and "fair treatment".

The One Nation senators have previously offered up examples of topics where they think ABC coverage hasn't been appropriately balanced, including climate change and giving equal time to the views of anti-vaxxers.

But Senator Fifield echoed the ABC's policy to say he believed the concept of balance should follow the weight of evidence.

"We're simply reinforcing through legislation that which is already in the ABC's own editorial policies," he said.

"It will operate exactly as it does now and that is the ABC will make the judgements on these matters. The government doesn't have a role in editorial arrangements at the ABC."

Other elements of the deal with One Nation include forcing the ABC and SBS to publish the salaries of employees earning more than $200,000 and have the national broadcasters face an inquiry into "competitive neutrality".

However, other parties in the Senate, including the Nick Xenophon Team, have indicated they won't back the changes to the ABC, meaning they may be doomed.

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