"The ABC has acknowledged that their reports were wrong. That is good. But this has caused enormous offence": Malcolm Turnbull.

"The ABC has acknowledged that their reports were wrong. That is good. But this has caused enormous offence": Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Rob Homer

The ABC's admission it over-egged its reporting on asylum-seeker claims of navy mistreatment has failed to quell calls from Abbott government ministers for the broadcaster to apologise to the navy.

Amid debate about the ABC's reporting, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull fuelled expectations its $223 million international broadcasting contract would be downgraded or scrapped.

The ABC admitted on Tuesday its stories on burnt asylum seekers should have been ''more precise'', but has resisted calls to apologise.

Mr Turnbull said: ''The ABC has acknowledged that their reports were wrong. That is good. But this has caused enormous offence and an apology, in my view - just a suggestion - would be appropriate.''

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop told the ABC: ''I thought the ABC would do the right thing and, having acknowledged that their reporting was substandard at best, that they would apologise.''

Prime Minister Tony Abbott appeared to back an apology, but said the decision was up to the ABC.

''What the ABC did in respect to that particular story was to rush to believe accusations that had little if any foundation in fact, accusations which were broadcast in ways that were extremely damaging to the professionalism of our naval personnel,'' he said.

Matthew Knott