Press Council accepts Hanson complaint as S. Tele editor insists he did the right thing

The Australian Press Council looks set to get involved in the furore over the Sunday Telegraph’s publication of nude photographs puporting to be of the politician Pauline Hanson.  

It has accepted an initial complaint from Crikey’s editor and media commentator Jonathan Green and Margaret Simons. The pair wrote to the Press Council on Wednesday, complaining that the paper had intended to invade her privacy by publishing the images, although severe doubt has since been cast on their authenticity.

The Press Council usually requires a complainant to have a direct interest in a case before taking on a complaint.

However, the organisation has written back to Simons saying it is going to take the matter further. In an email to Simons, the journalism watchdog’s Jack Herman says: “I will accept the matter for processing and take up your complaint by writing to the newspaper, seeking its response to the matters you have raised.”

Meanwhile, Neil Breen, editor of the Sunday Telegraph, has spoken to his sister paper The Australian.

In the interview, he tells the paper the potential invasion of Hanson’s privacy was justified: “I would say that all parts of her life are relevant. My decision-making would be very different if we had not seen Pauline Hanson for a while and she wasn’t wanting to be an elected official again.”

Up to now he had continued to insist that the image did show Hanson. But in the interview he conceded: “I do accept that there is an extreme doubt out there about it. I would be an absolute idiot not to accept that. But I also accept that it has been four or five days now and there is still no clear-cut answer – just several hundred thousand, maybe a million, opinions.”

Breen also appeared on Nine this morning. He admitted: “There’s no doubt we went too quick with the story. I knew it had holes in it on Saturday. We needed to do more work on it and put more rigours on it.”


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