Press Council rules The Age’s adult migrant education program story was misleading

APCAn article by Fairfax Media’s The Age on an adult migrant education program has been ruled to be misleading by the Australian Press Council for a failure to reveal that research paper central to the story, touting the program’s efficacy, was produced internally.

The article, published in December of 2014, appeared in The Age’s education supplement in both print and online and featured successful students in a youth program run by Victorian-based Adult Migrant Education Service (AMES).

The article referenced a “research paper commissioned by AMES” which “recommended additional funding into the AMEP”, however a complainant argued the article did not disclose that the researcher was a long-term employee of AMES.

The Age press council ruling

A screenshot of the story.

The Age defended the article, arguing “the fact that the researcher was an employee of AMES did not necessarily indicate that the results were biased or lacked validity”, also arguing the term “commissioned” did not necessarily mean that the research was external.

However it was the APC’s view that the term “research commissioned” suggests an independent, external evaluation of the program and as the article failed to reveal that it had been produced by an employee it created a misleading impression.

The APC concluded “there was a lack of clarify regarding the nature of the funding relationships between AMES and AMEP which was also misleading”.

Complaints arguing The Age failed adequately to disclose a conflict of interest as the online version of the article did not disclose the writer was employed by AMES were dismissed.

The Age rectified the story after it was alerted, with the omitted disclosure statement about the AMES writer added to the online version.

Miranda Ward


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