OK to report on athlete's weekend, not invasion of privacy, Australian Press Council says - iMediaEthics

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(Credit: Australian Press Council)

It wasn’t an invasion of privacy to report on how a retired athlete spent his weekend after not appearing at a scheduled public event, the Australian Press Council ruled.

The May 2019 Courier-Mail article, “Greg Inglis’ lost weekend in Brisbane mansion for Magic Round,” reported that instead of appearing at scheduled events for the National Rugby League’s Magic Round event, Inglis stayed in a “Brisbane riverside mansion with friends.” It also reported that Inglis’ family, colleagues and others “tried to find him,” quoting an anonymous source who was in the mansion with him.

iMediaEthics has written to the Courier-Mail’s publisher, News Corp. Australia. News Corp. Australia declined to comment.

The Courier-Mail defended its article by saying it was in the public interest because Inglis didn’t appear at events, and is a public figure. “It noted that the man should reasonably have anticipated there would be a significant level of public interest in his whereabouts and what occurred when he went missing,” the council reported the Courier-Mail argued.

The council dismissed the complaint, finding that Inglis didn’t have a high standard for expectation of privacy because he was a no-show at events.

“The Council accepts that the man is a renowned player, has a very high profile and was a role model,” the press council ruled. “Given the man apparently disappeared from Magic Round activities (a major public event) without warning or explanation, the Council considers that the man’s reasonable expectations of privacy were reduced and that there was a public interest in reporting the circumstances in which the man withdrew from these activities.”

Inglis doesn’t appear to have any active social media accounts; his website went to an error page.

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OK to report on athlete’s weekend, not invasion of privacy, Australian Press Council says

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