Who is watching the media watchdog of Australia? How the Australian Press Council failed to live up to its elevated standards of fairness and impartiality in a unilateral ruling
A core principle of the Australian Press Council, established more than 40 years ago, is to maintain the highest standards of media practice.
So, to say the least, it is disappointing that the APC's own standards of honesty and impartiality seriously failed in its latest statement against Daily Mail Australia.
The APC shamelessly selected Daily Mail Australia for reporting a funeral for a prominent Vietnamese criminal lawyer, Ho Ledinh, who was shot in a cafe in Bankstown last year.
A journalist from Daily Mail Australia was personally invited to attend the funeral by two close friends of Mr. Ledinh – on behalf of his partner.
"We spoke on behalf of her and her family after Mr. Ledinh's murder and discussed the journalist and his website about various stories, including sitting with him in Bankstown," the couple wrote in a joint statement on behalf of this publication.
"He treated our stories sensitively and I did not hesitate to invite the journalist and his colleagues to attend the funeral."
Several other news sources, including TV channels, newspapers, and other digital publications, were also invited and related to the & # 39; public & # 39; event, which was attended by prominent community leaders and organized a traditional Buddhist ceremony.
But in an extraordinary statement – and despite clear evidence to the contrary – the APC concluded that Daily Mail Australia (and it only) surfaced effectively uninvited, violated family privacy and failed to show respect for dignity and sensitivity of the family & # 39; .
These findings could not be further from the truth.
The Daily Mail Australia reporting team was extremely professional and sensitive to the family at all times.
Indeed, the APC itself does not consider the material published as misleading or unfair means & # 39; – a recognition that certainly undermines the rest of its findings against Daily Mail Australia.
For clarity's sake, Daily Mail Australia was invited, respectfully kept away, no one approached for comment, the story was sensitively written, and all photos of young family members were blurred to protect their privacy.
A rival site that was demonstrably less careful in its coverage of the funeral was not criticized, nor received a complaint.
But these facts received little weight from the APC, which cleverly ignored our version of the events in favor of achieving an outcome intention to portray Daily Mail Australia as insensitive and unethical.
As a dedicated member of the APC, Daily Mail Australia has fully published the ruling on its website.
But that does not mean that it is turning a blind eye to the shortcomings of the APC.
The assessment process in this case – which took 18 months – has been deeply flawed and one-sided.
It does not honor the APC and the lofty goals it stands for.
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