David Weisbrot named as next chair of the Press Council

David Weisbrot

David Weisbrot

University of Sydney professor David Weisbrot has been named as the next head of the Australian Press Council to replace outgoing chairman Julian Disney.

Weisbrot, a professor of law at the university is set to take up the new role from March when Disney steps down. He is was president of the Australian Law Reform Commission for a decade to 2009, and is currently a part-time commissioner of the NSW Law Reform Commission; vice-president of the Australian Academy of Law; a member of the Strategic Advisory Board of the Garvan Institute’s Centre for Clinical Genomics; and a director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.

Today the APC has also announced two new members, with left-leaning independent investigative news site New Matilda and Industry Superfunds backed news site The New Daily joining some of the country’s biggest publishers.

The appointment of Weisbrot to replace Disney, who steps down on February 28, comes at a sensitive time for the APC with one of its biggest members, News Corp, ramping up pressure on the watchdog over its handling of complaints and the scope of its powers.

Weisbrot, who grew up in the US and moved to Australia in 1979, has led inquiries into issues including the handling of classified and security-sensitive information; sedition laws; secrecy laws; privacy law and practice; the protection of human genetic information; Royal Commissions of Inquiry; and pro bono legal services.

He was previously Dean of Law and then Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney, responsible for the faculties of Business, Arts, Law, Education, Fine Arts and the Conservatorium of Music.

Today’s announcement of the two new digital-only publishers on the APC has taken the numbers from one to seven in the last three years, including Mumbrella.

In addition former ABC radio and News Corp journalist Anna Reynolds has been named as an independent journalist member of the Council’s governing body.



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