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Monday, May 11, 2009

Press Council reform takes a hair-cut in tough times

Buried away at the back of the Government's response to the Report of the 2020 Summit in a list of "Ideas others may progress", this from the Governance Group:
"• Improve accountability of the media (Press Council). The media should be accountable to the public, including radio, television and media on the internet.
• Improve media diversity and accountability.
• Expand the role of the Press Council to: Strengthen and reinvigorate the
professionalism of journalists;Improved accountability; Review roles of Press Council in light of new media."
The Government's response: " The Press Council is independent of government and reform should be driven by the industry."

The idea at the Summit seems to have been that the media needed to get its act together and that a media wide industry body might help. However according to Mark Pearson in The Australian the only reform likely is a slimmer Press Council with a narrower focus following a proposal by News for a 33% budget cut. This follows a month after the Council's chairman proposed an expanded role, and a 36% increase in funding.


  1. Anonymous10:48 am

    Do any of these Press Council members represent bloggers such as yourself?

  2. No,the Press Council, to now at least has been a print media body.In something I've read recently the chairman said that it now also covers on -line publications, so maybe they had or have in mind broadening membership to cover on-liners not connected to print publications as well.The Australian article suggests News Ltd,the biggest player in APC affairs has put a hold on any expansion plans.The lack of an industry wide media body is obviously a problem as the media argues issues such as improvement in shield laws and resists changes to privacy laws on the basis that everything is hunky-dory.Then there is the problem of definition of journalist-many don't belong to the MEAA for example-and how to distinguish some from the likes of us untrained, unprincipled bloggers.