Australian Press Council appoints Indigenous member, Carla McGrath

As part of its efforts to “better reflect the Australian community”, the Australian Press Council has appointed Carla McGrath.

McGrath joins the Australian Press Council with a strong advocacy background across organisations including BlakDance, Shared Path Corporation, GetUp, the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, the NSW Reconciliation Council, AIME and the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition.

David Weisbrot, Australian Press Council chair said McGrath had “shone through the selection process”.

“Carla’s appointment will directly and productively assist the Council in forging the linkages with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, organisations and individuals, as we are committed to do via our recently launched Reconciliation Action Plan. But she was chosen for her outstanding personal qualities and qualifications—she was the right person for the job,” he said.

Commenting on her appointment, McGrath said she was looking forward to promoting good standards of media practice, community access to information of public interest, and freedom of expression through media.

“It is clear that we are living in a swiftly changing media environment where the methods for consumption of, and interaction with, content is broadening, and one where the very definition of free speech is consistently being called into question.

“As a Torres Strait Islander woman, I feel a strong sense of responsibility to enable the diverse and unique perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to be represented in conversations relating to the role and responsibilities of the press,” McGrath said.

The latest appointment is part of a number of steps APC’s attempts to better reflect the Australian community.

Zione Walker-Nthenda, a human rights lawyers of African descent joined the Council in April, while Kirstie Parker, a Yuwallari woman from northern NSW was appointed as an adjudication panel member.

The Press Council also welcomed its first Indigenous publication, the Koori Mail, in February.

UPDATE: The Press Council originally stated Carla McGrath was the first indigenous person to be appointed as a member. It has since issued a correction, noting this is incorrect.

Correction from the Press Council:

In a media release issued by the Press Council on 25 May 2017, headed “Australian Press Council appoints its first-ever Indigenous member”, it was stated that Carla McGrath was the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person to assume the position. This is not correct.

In fact, the Press Council has had at least two Indigenous members in the past:

  • Mr Colin Bourke MBE, who was a public member from 1982 to 1991; and
  • Ms Natascha McNamara AM MBE, who was appointed an alternate member in 1992, and a full public member from 1997 to 2003.

The Council regrets this error and sincerely apologises to Mr Bourke and Ms McNamara.




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