The Australian Press Council says a Media Watch program contained a significant factual error, which it has not adequately addressed.

Media Watch ran a story on March 27 about a Press Council adjudication that found the Daily Mail had breached TV host Osher Gunsberg’s privacy by publishing pictures of him in Bali under a headline referring to his “Bali belly”.

In a statement, Press Council executive director John Pender said Media Watch had stated the only punishment for the Mail was a requirement to link to the Press Council judgement on its website. In fact, the requirement is to publish a link to the adjudication in full in a prominent place for 24 hours, and keep the judgement permanently on the website. 

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The Press Council said that the ABC program had not mentioned Gunsberg’s public statements he was happy with the adjudication, and aside from adding a note to its website, Media Watch refused to take any further remedial steps.

In the statement, Pender said:

“I believe it is appropriate to issue this statement because the incorrect impressions created by the program have not been adequately remedied by Media Watch itself, and could lead the public into a mistaken understanding of what occurs during and after the Press Council’s complaints-handling process. It is of the utmost concern that this segment could potentially deter bona fide complainants from availing themselves of the Press Council’s complaint-handling process.”

Note: A previous version of this story said the Press Council said Media Watch had not mentioned that Gunsberg was happy with the adjudication. The statement said Media Watch had not referred to public statements by Gunsberg to this effect.

— Emily Watkins

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