Technical error resulted in the faces of two children appearing on Facebook

A technical error resulted in the faces of two children appearing on the Facebook site of an Australian newspaper.
That error also underlined the importance of “appropriate checks and balances when using new technologies particularly when publishing images of children”, the Australian Press Council said in a recent adjudication.

A print story in The Queensland Times on 1 July 2015 contained an image of an accused person, but the Facebook version, headed “Goodna dad accused of drug, weapons and robbery offences”, included an image of two children not related to the article.

The paper admitted to the error in posting the children’s faces, apologized and offered to assist with having Facebook references removed. However, the Australian Press Council upheld the complaint because of the “serious breach of privacy” and “significant impact on the family and the children”.
At the hearing, the paper noted a new policy of blurring or cropping images of children in its court-related image library, but problems remain in previewing images that will be published on mobile platforms.

Read the full adjudication at:

Australian Press Council adopts Reconciliation Action Plan

Australia, like Canada, has the task of facing racism and rebuilding relations with its indigenous peoples. The Australian Press Council recognizes the powerful role of the media in that process, and has adopted its own reconciliation plan.

Over the next three years, the APC will promote understanding between indigenous and non-indigenous groups. In practical terms, that means

  • encouraging membership by Indigenous newspapers, magazines and online news and current affairs sites;
  • engaging and consulting with Indigenous groups, individuals and organisations regarding the Press Council’s work;
  • encouraging the Australian news media to report issues of importance for Indigenous communities in a respectful way, especially those that highlight inequality and the need to “close the gap”; and
  • endeavouring to promote high quality reporting in relation to Indigenous peoples.

Traditionally, indigenous communities “had a very mixed relationship with media and that’s been underpinned by a paucity of trust,” said Chris Graham, an Australian Press Council member and publisher, who added the “takes its obligations to the nation’s most vulnerable people seriously”.



“In neither Canada nor the United States do reporters have a blanket right to keep sources anonymous based on constitutional rights of free expression.  Nevertheless, in applying common law or statutory shield laws, courts north and south of the border have acknowledged that reporters should be able to do so where there is not a compelling reason to override that right.

So, what should reporters know about promising anonymity to their sources?” – Grant Buckler, CJFE

NNC expresses concern at events unfolding in Ontario Superior Court

The National NewsMedia Council of Canada (NNC) expresses its concern at events unfolding in Ontario Superior Court as the RCMP seeks to compel VICE journalist Ben Makuch to hand over his notes connected to an interview with suspected Canadian ISIS fighter Farah Shirdon.

NNC president and CEO John Fraser said that although police have responsibility to investigate, they should be extremely wary of co-opting the media to serve as assistants in that work.

“News media in Canada either have the duty and right to report without fear or favour, or they do not. There is little grey area here,” Mr. Fraser said. “It is particularly in the most difficult cases, like this one, where the truest test of media freedom is found.”

National NewsMedia Council believes Alberta Premier Rachel Notley made a fundamental error

NNC logo


February 19, 2016

The National NewsMedia Council believes Alberta Premier Rachel Notley made a fundamental error by banning The Rebel from parliamentary briefings on the basis that its representatives are not “real journalists”.

“I am relieved that Ms Notley has apologized for the initial decision and withdrawn the ban, but we are deeply concerned that the issue remains on the table,” said John Fraser, president and CEO of the new council.

The NNC, which represents the public and media in matters concerning the democratic rights of freedom of speech and freedom of the media, hopes former Canadian Press bureau chief Heather Boyd – deputized by Notley to investigate the issue – will state in the strongest possible terms that government has no role in deciding who is a journalist or in barring media access to public information.

The NNC has a mandate to criticize media members when they fall short of journalistic standards, but it also vigorously defends media access to, and right to report on, government and public events.

The definition of “media” and “journalist” is arguably elastic with the proliferation of online sites, bloggers and commentators. But these new media are nevertheless all part of a free and unfettered media. It’s worth remembering that the press gallery on Parliament Hill was shockingly slow at opening up to female journalists, broadcasters and photographers.

Canada’s media have never been regulated by government, and never should be. While media, by long tradition, may have partisan leanings, it is not the government who gets to decide what meets the definition of legitimate journalism.


Retirement Luncheon for Don McCurdy

69064_159379704096949_100000747617178_340832_8116459_nOn Wednesday, Feb. 17, the NewsMedia Council will host a small luncheon to honour Don McCurdy, the last executive director of the Ontario Press Council. Don has been a great friend to the new National NewsMedia Council. In fact, it was originally his idea to bring the regional press councils together, a task driven with great conviction by our chair, the Hon. Frances Lankin.

For the past six months, Don has been the gentle and ever-helpful Sherpa to Executive Director Pat Perkel and CEO John Fraser as they started up this brave new endeavour and they have been am very grateful for that help. Don has promised to be available when and if the media council ever needs him, yet another sign of his loyalty and commitment, which will be honoured at the luncheon this week.

Media Council Co-Hosts Spotlight on Publishers







(Left to right: Phillip Crawley, Pierre-Elliott Levasseur, John Cruickshank, Kelly Toughill)

On February 3rd  evening, the NNC co-hosted a very interesting discussion between Phillip Crawley, publisher of the Globe and Mail, John Cruickshank, publisher of the Toronto Star, and Pierre-Elliott Levasseur, Chief Operating Officer of La Presse. The evening, co-hosted by the Canadian Journalism Foundation, was entitled “Spotlight on Publishers: The Challenge of Making News Pay”.

Between the publishers and the well-attended audience (everyone is more than curious about the subject matter!) there was a good discussion. Many of the familiar nostrums were trotted out, including possible government intervention, but what resonated most with CEO John Fraser was the continuing conviction that trying to do the best and most professional job, despite dwindling resources, was the best front line of defence. “I personally am convinced that at some point, the hard core of responsible readership will kick in to maintain the integrity of the media. I also think that this is one of the principal justifications for the National NewsMedia Council, whether you are a printed newspaper, a magazine or new member of the digital news media.

UK press councils, post-Leveson

“This week saw a major step forward for genuinely independent press regulation in the UK. The new press regulator IMPRESS (Independent Monitor for the Press) has announced that it has not only signed up a dozen publishers but that it has submitted an application for formal recognition,” writes Steven Barnett in the January 22, 2016 edition of The Conversation.

“The raison d’etre for IMPRESS is trusted journalism, which every survey of public opinion tells us – certainly for the printed press – is in very short supply. But it’s also about supporting great journalism, in particular providing protection for the kind of watchdog reporting which is increasingly vulnerable to the chilling effect of wealthy litigants threatening bankruptcy through the courts,” Barnett writes.

Read the full story at

National NewsMedia Council launches

Canada has a new press and newsmedia council thanks to a refreshed and renewed commitment to the newsmedia industry by publications across the country, as well as the successful amalgamation of several regional press councils, including the Ontario Press Council, the Atlantic Press Council and the British Columbia Press Council.

Continue Reading