The Guardian to look at joining Australian Press Council — but not yet

guardian australia logoEditor-in-chief of The Guardian’s new Australian operation Katharine Viner has said the media outlet is open to joining the Australian Press Council, but not until “we become more established”.

Viner told Mumbrella this afternoon: “We are looking at the Australian Press Council and will be considering becoming members as we become more established.”

The statement comes in the wake of a dispute over the website’s coverage yesterday between Australia’s newest media outlet, which launched last week, and deputy federal Liberal leader Julie Bishop.

The website’s editor yesterday published a lengthy clarification of the dispute explaining “an issue that has emerged from the Guardian’s interview with Julie Bishop, the deputy Liberal leader.”

Much of the dispute centered on statements made by Bishop to The Guardian’s political editor Lenore Taylor around the issue of boat arrivals from Indonesia and recent statements made by the Indonesian Ambassador.

The initial story which ran yesterday morning was headlined  “Indonesia have agreed to co-operate in turning back boats, insists Coalition” and was quickly labelled a “beat up” by Bishop. The newspaper explained that it did not misquote Bishop however, it did adjust the headline “in recognition of the subtle but diplomatically significant distinction between an agreement and an expectation of co-operation”.

A spokesman for the APC said its chairman Julian Disney would be contacting The Guardian to invite them to join the organisation.

“We do intend to discuss membership of the Press Council with the Guardian Australia,” said the spokesman.

The Australian editor of the news website did not elaborate on a timeframe for joining the APC.

“The Guardian has a strong focus on open, independent journalism and a long tradition of effective self regulation,” said Viner.

Last year amid the national debate around media regulation many of Australia’s leading news websites joined the self regulatory body. 

Nic Christensen 


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