"The newspaper had too little evidence to assert that Prof Clark was awarded the Order of Lenin -- rather there is much evidence to the contrary. That being so, the Press Council finds that The Courier-Mail was not justified in publishing its key assertion and the conclusions which so strongly flowed from it. The newspaper should have taken further steps to check the accuracy of its reports."Despite being urged to do so by the Press Council, Mitchell and The Courier-Mail have never retracted their false allegations. There is nothing civilised about this current dispute. The Oz -- already smarting over a strong adverse APC finding last week -- is now in its familiar take-no-prisoners mindset, as its editorial on Saturday demonstrated so unsubtly. The council (of which News Corp is by far the largest single funder) is dismissed as "erratic in its rulings", "ponderous", "ineffective" and "unmoored from its foundations". It has "lost the plot" and "run off the rails". Even worse is reserved for Disney himself. In a remarkably personal attack the editorial deplored his "peculiar tastes and political predilections", accused him of "poor stewardship", "biases" and "ideological activism". He was mocked as the "censor-in-chief" and "emperor of taste". Disney has been taught a lesson (as if it were needed) on how viciously the Holt Street mafia will retaliate if anyone challenges their methods or opinions. More importantly, this whole unpleasant episode demonstrates the hypocrisies that underpin the media self-regulation construct in Australia. In response to the perceived threats of the Finkelstein Inquiry and the Convergence Review, newspaper proprietors rushed to "strengthen" the Press Council’s authority and increase its funding. Now we have proof that this was all window dressing. If the APC’s processes and findings don’t suit a powerful member such as News Corp, it refuses to play by the rules and trashes the chair’s reputation. Self-regulation is no regulation at all.
Smelling an adverse ruling, The Australian turns on Press Council
The Australian has turned its particular brand of venom on Julian Disney, chair of the Press Council. Former Media Watch executive producer David Salter writes that self-regulation of the press is clearly no regulation at all.