The Press Council has considered a complaint about an article that included a description of the composition of panels that adjudicate complaints made to the media union, the MEAA.
The Council concluded that the description was not entirely clear and accurate but the ambiguities were not sufficiently grave to uphold the complaint.
The Press Council has considered a complaint by Mark Latham about articles in The Sunday Telegraph on 11 and 18 December 2011 describing his alleged altercation with the supervisor of a swimming lesson attended by his young children. The supervisor’s three-person team of teachers included the reporter’s mother.
The Council upheld Mr Latham’s complaint that this relationship should have been disclosed in the articles. It also upheld his complaint that the articles were an unjustified intrusion on his children’s privacy.
The Press Council has considered a complaint that a prominent headline using the term “illegal immigrant” was inaccurate, pejorative and unfair. The newspaper said it was not its policy to use the term in this context and attributed it to an error.
The Council concluded that the term was inaccurate and unfair in this context and accordingly upheld the complaint.
The Press Council has considered a complaint about failure to publish Senator Brown’s response to a letter from a company criticised in an earlier advertisement authorised by him.
The Council concluded that his letter did not substantially address the points in the company’s letter, focussing instead on other concerns about the company. Accordingly, the newspaper did not breach the Council’s Standards of Practice concerning publication of a response, and the complaint was not upheld.
The Press Council has considered a complaint that a report of a decision by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal could prejudice a subsequent appeal and was also inaccurate and misleading. The Council concluded that reporting tribunal proceedings in these circumstances is normal practice and did not uphold this aspect of the complaint.
The Council upheld the complaint in relation to two inaccuracies, which the newspaper had conceded, but dismissed the other allegations of misleading content.
The Press Council has considered a complaint that a report of a decision by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal could prejudice a subsequent appeal, contained a number of inaccuracies and had been published without seeking comment from the complainant.
The Council concluded that reporting tribunal proceedings is normal practice and did not uphold this aspect of the complaint. The Council upheld one of the complaints of inaccuracy but dismissed the remainder of them. It concluded that in the particular circumstances the failure to seek comment was not a breach of its Standards of Practice.
The Press Council has considered a complaint that the headline and first paragraph of an article were inaccurate, unfair and offensive by stating that a predicted influx of asylum seekers would “flood the suburbs”.
The Council concluded the words connoted an overwhelming and adverse impact on the community which was misleading and unfair. Accordingly, the Council upheld the complaint. A complaint that the accompanying photograph conveyed unfairly negative connotations was not upheld.
The Press Council has considered complaints that an opinion piece referring to sexuality as a choice was inaccurate and offensive. The Council considered that, although the article was likely to cause widespread offence, the newspaper was entitled to publish it provided that, due to its likely impact, a competing view was published promptly. In some circumstances, immediate publication of a different view may be essential.
The Council concluded these requirements had been met to an acceptable degree in the print edition, but the online version had not provided links to the article expressing the competing view. Accordingly, the complaint was upheld in relation to the online version but not the print version.
The Press Council has considered a complaint that the newspaper’s coverage of the effects of wind farms, including possible damage to health, was unbalanced.
The Council shared some of Ms Rovensky’s concerns about the limited attention given to a Senate report highlighting the need for further research and State Government’s changes to planning appeal rights, but it concluded that, overall, the complaint about lack of balance should not be upheld.
The Press Council has considered a complaint by the Solicitor-General, Stephen Gageler, that a correction to an erroneous front-page report was not sufficiently prominent to remedy damage to his reputation. The correction was made the following day in a small box at the bottom corner of page 2, acknowledging that the High Court had not criticised Mr Gageler.
The Council welcomed the prompt correction but upheld the complaint that it was not sufficiently prominent to be likely to be seen by people who saw the original article.
The Press Council has considered a complaint by a school principal that an article about local schools being “ripped off” by “rorting” of the BER program was inaccurate and damaged his school’s reputation. Mr Shaw said the newspaper was aware his own views had changed since he made critical comments about the building work about 15 months earlier.
The Council upheld the complaint, concluding there was not sufficient ground for the article’s implication that Mr Shaw had supported allegations of rorting and that the newspaper should have sought an up-to-date comment from Mr Shaw. It also should have printed his letter to the editor or sought agreement on an edited version.
The Press Council has considered a complaint by a Brisbane City councillor about a report of a Council meeting she attended.
The Council concluded the website was inaccurate in stating that Cr Johnston accused the Chair of the meeting of being corrupt. In upholding that aspect of the complaint, it noted that great care must be taken before saying that a person has made a serious allegation of that kind. It said a separate assertion in the article that she refused to apologise to another councillor was not so clearly inaccurate or unfair that this aspect of the complaint should be upheld.
The Press Council has considered a complaint that the newspaper’s coverage of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder was unbalanced. Ms Smith said it favoured people who argue medication is being over-prescribed and did not give enough attention to experts and people who, like her, have family experience of the benefits of the medication. The newspaper offered to consider publishing a letter from Ms Smith but she said they should approach experts.
The Council said there might have been some imbalances but there are many circumstances that justify a greater emphasis being given to particular perspectives in the coverage of an issue. In this instance, it concluded that any differences were within justifiable limits and accordingly the complaint was not upheld.
The Press Council has considered a complaint from a former Minister about an article describing him as having attempted to “censor” internet blog forums. He said this misrepresented his attempt to extend to the internet a law that during election periods letters to the editor must bear the author’s name. He also said the newspaper refused to publish his response to the article.
The Council upheld the complaint, concluding there were strong grounds for regarding the term “censor” as inaccurate or unfair in this context, and in any event, having used such a strong and disputable term, the newspaper should have published his letter.
The Press Council has considered a complaint that three separate articles in June and July 2011 about aspects of the National Broadband Network (NBN) were inaccurate. The complaint was that the first article understated the number of NBN customers taking up offers, the second misstated the costs of not taking up current NBN offers, and the third made misleading comparisons of the costs of connections.
The Council upheld all three complaints on the basis they were inaccurate and, in two instances also misleading and unfair, and that the errors were not corrected promptly when brought to the newspaper's attention.