(Image: Mitchell Squire/Private Media)

News Corp's tabloids have been using their front pages as a modern-day pillory, a device for holding COVID rule-breakers up to public shame. And the mainstream media through its self-regulator, the Australian Press Council, says it’s totally fine – once the story is out there, what’s the harm in amplifying it?

Maybe so last century, when today’s newspaper could be brushed aside as tomorrow’s fish-and-chips wrapping. But in today’s virtual world the added power of social media can quickly mutate public shame into abuse.

The old media blame game has been transformed; it’s no longer “just the facts” reporting. It makes the media responsible for putting public shaming at the heart of public health compliance.