Law reformer to replace Disney as Press Council chair

Australian Press Council chairman Professor Julian Disney will step down at the end of February and will be replaced by law professor David Weisbrot, from March 1.

Prof Disney has served as chairman for more than five years.

Incoming chair, Prof Weisbrot, is an emeritus professor of law and honorary professor of medicine at the University of Sydney, and also serves in advisory and directorial roles for bodies such as the NSW Law Reform Commission and the Australian Academy of Law.

From 1999 to 2009, Prof Weisbrot served as President of the Australian Law Reform Commission and conducted 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.

In 2006, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for “service to the law in the areas of law reform, education and access to legal services, and through contributions to research, analysis and policy development on a range of matters of public interest.”

Prof Weisbrot has published 10 books and more than 200 reports, book chapters and journal articles during his career.

The press council also announced in a statement yesterday that digital publications The New Daily and New Matilda have joined the council as members. Over the past three years the number of digital-only publishers signed up to the press council as members has grown from one to seven, including Private Media, which publishes Crikey, Property Observer and other online magazines, and Focal Attractions, which publishes Mumbrella and Encore Magazine.

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