Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Thanks Rupert Murdoch, but Australians can choose their own government

On Friday 23 August the Chair of the Council, Prof Julian Disney, wrote to major newspaper editors reminding them of the Council's longstanding guideline on election coverage. A copy of the message is below.
Dear editor,
In response to concerns expressed by members of the general community as well as within the media industry, I am writing to the editor of each metropolitan daily newspaper to emphasise the importance of the advisory guideline on election reporting. It was issued by the Press Council in 2009 and continues in operation.
In particular, I draw your attention to the 2009 opening section of the guideline which reads as follows:
“The Council upholds the right of a newspaper to have its own political position; to accept certain beliefs and policies and to reject others; and to favour the election of one party and to oppose the election of another.  However, the Council has emphasised strongly that newspapers that profess to inform the community about its political and social affairs are under an obligation to present to the public a reasonably comprehensive and accurate account of public issues. As a result, the Council believes that it is essential that a clear distinction be drawn between reporting the facts and stating opinion. A paper’s editorial viewpoints and its advocacy of them must be kept separate from its news columns.”

We seek your cooperation in observing this guideline during the current Federal election campaign. The full text is available at http://www.presscouncil.org.au/document-search/guideline-reporting-elections/

Yours sincerely,
Prof Julian Disney AO
Australian Press Council
23 August 2013

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