Press Council suggests fines for media breaches

By By Erin Smith | 1 November 2011

The Press Council's submission to the independent media inquiry argued publishers should be fined a maximum of $30,000 for serious breaches.

The first submissions were due on 31 October and were published yesterday on the media inquiry website. The Press Council said the breaches should be assessed by a panel, headed by a retired judge, which would have the power to fine up to a specific level.

This move comes in response to previous criticisms of the Press Council as a “toothless tiger”.

The submission said it is considering censuring and reprimanding publishers “where appropriate.”

The Press Council chair Julian Disney said in a letter to the inquiry that, while the body was considering such changes, he was “concerned” that such changes may slow down the process, which could become “formal, adversarial, slow and expensive”.

The media inquiry was set up earlier in the year following pressure from Greens leader Bob Brown, after the News of the World phone hacking scandal brought global media practises into the public eye.

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