The latest Australian Press Council adjudications are out. They are all pretty much damp squibs – complaints that were going nowhere, and findings with which there is no reason to disagree. In the clear are the Sydney Morning Herald, the Daily Telegraph and the Tasmanian daily The Advocate. The adjudications, as issued by the Press Council, appear below.
The Australian Press Council has dismissed a complaint by John Flanagan, an officer of the
Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting), about a July 8 article by Adele Horin in The
Sydney Morning Herald.
The article headed Divorced men better off but not happier referred to a press release of an
analysis by the Australian Institute of Family Studies into the long-lasting financial impacts of
divorce for women.
Mr Flanagan complained that the journalist misinterpreted the analysis “in such a way to
achieve an outcome that wrongly suits a feminist agenda.”
In its response the newspaper rejected this complaint and said the article was a fair, accurate
and balanced report.
The newspaper also supplied an email from the lead researcher on the project attesting to the
article’s fairness and balance.
In dismissing the complaint the Australian Press Council has reviewed the analysis in the
press release and agrees with the lead researcher’s assessment of the article.
The Australian Press Council has dismissed a complaint from Rob Perkovic against The Daily
Telegraph, Sydney, relation to an article titled Scientology’s $12m renovation rescue for
Sydney HQ published on May 31, 2009.
The article reports on the upgrade of the Church of Scientology’s Sydney headquarters. It
reports on the cost of the upgrade, conditions of the development application, the number of
supporters and objectors to the application, the number of members within Australia and
notes some high-profile media personalities who are members. Comment was provided on the
upgrade by a member of the Church.
Mr Perkovic has complained that the headline and article are misleading and unbalanced. He
objected to the use of the word ‘rescue’ in the headline and to ‘trawling’ used to describe the
Church’s recruitment activities.
The Daily Telegraph stated that the use of ‘renovation rescue’ was the language of popculture
vernacular and that the use of ‘trawling’ was descriptive, and was not meant to be
The Council finds that the article and headline are neither misleading nor unbalanced.
The Australian Press Council has dismissed a complaint from Gatty Burnett over an article published
in the Tasmanian daily, The Advocate, on August 13, 2009.
The article reported that police internal investigations are looking into a complaint by Shannon Blake
into his detention, and treatment once detained, by police in the early hours of August 9, 2009. The
complainant is an acquaintance of Mr Blake and was with him when the police action occurred in a
In the article the newspaper claimed that Blake had been “arrested”. The complainant claims that
Blake was never arrested. She claims that he was never told he was under arrest and that for the
newspaper to claim that he was arrested was “slanderous propaganda”.
The complainant states that Blake was forcibly taken into police custody and that he was held for a
number of hours. It is claimed, for example, that capsicum spray was used on him. The complainant
asserts Blake was repeatedly assaulted while in custody. He was released without charge.
In dismissing the complaint, the Council takes the view that the newspaper cannot be criticised for the
use of the word “arrested”, as that appears to be what happened to Blake. An arrest can be understood
as the detention of an individual by the police.
The Council cannot comment on the complainant’s suggestion that Blake was never told he was being
arrested. That may, or may not, be relevant in the police internal investigation. Whether the police
acted properly in the act of detaining him, and while holding him in custody, are also matters for
others to decide. Irrespective of that, the newspaper’s use of the term “arrested” in the article does not
breach any of the Council’s principles.