The Press Council’s website explains the council is the “principal body with responsibility” to handle media complaints.
According to Crikey’s report on the news, Private Media’s publisher Eric Beecher explained that “we believe in the concept of a media complaints system” and that “the producers of online journalism should be a part of the complaints system.”
According to Crikey, the news site hasn’t previously joined the press council because it wasn’t sure if the council had a “real understanding of how online media worked.”
However, Crikey wrote that “Quite a bit has changed since then, not to mention the release of the Finkelstein report.”
As we have written, the Finkelstein report is the result of an independent review of Australia’s media regulation by Ray Finkelstein completed at the request of the government. It was published earlier this month and called for “News Media Council” to handle all forms of media outlets and essentially take the place of the Press Council.
According to Crikey, the Finkelstein report focuses on print publications, whereas the Press Council in the past year has “sought to engage with online publications.” Crikey commented that “The Press Council is very much a work in progress” but noted that it has “transformed” into a more independent, strong purpose.
According to the Australian, the press council is also “in talks with three online-only publishers” to also join the council’s jurisdiction. The Australian noted that the Press Council “declined to reveal names” of the publishers.
According to the Australian, “online publishers paid a smaller fee than larger organisations” as members of the council.
We have written to Private Media and will update with any response.