There’s
been quite a kerfuffle over the story set to run in The Smage last week
about three AFL players who had twice tested positive for use of illicit
recreational substances.

A
key part of the story by Jacqueline Magnay – the names of the three players –
had to be removed after the AFL took out an injunction against Fairfax and the
rest of the media, to keep the trio’s identities hush hush.

The
saga will return to Victoria’s
Supreme Court on Wednesday, but while the blanket ban on the players’ names is
in force, a cock-up has seen the players’ names revealed to clients of media
monitoring company Media Monitors.

Media Monitors has an arrangement with Fairfax
in which it is sent a copy of the electronic page proofs from its newspapers at
the same time as they are sent to the publisher’s printing facilities. That
feeds into an automated system which delivers the relevant
information to clients – before the paper has even been printed.

So when the injunction was enforced on Thursday evening, the page proofs had already
been sent to the company before last minute alterations to the AFL story.

Understandably
reluctant to draw attention to the names it has fought so hard to remove from
public circulation, the AFL was guarded in its comments. “There
was feed on our media monitoring service, it was from a newspaper and it
was removed,” a spokeswoman told Crikey.

Senior
deputy editor of The Age, Paul Ramadge wanted to make it clear the unfortunate
mistake had nothing to do with his paper. “My
understanding is that Media Monitors got access to a version of the story off a
Sydney Morning Herald page, not an Age page”, he told Crikey. “The story did
not make any editions of The Age.”

Crikey has the players’ names, but we can’t publish
them – the Supreme Court injunction covers all media.

Peter Fray

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