The Australian Press Council has ruled in favour of The Daily Telegraph on the paper’s placement of an image of ISIS hostage James Foley on its front page, declaring that it did not breach the council’s standards of practice.
Mr Foley, who was executed by the terrorist group, was shown kneeling before a hooded person holding a long knife near Mr Foley’s throat.
The council said the paper was justified in its placement of the picture on the front page, although it considered that the image was likely to cause substantial offence and distress to a significant number of people. It said the publication of the image was in the public interest, and would bring “unpleasant realities to public attention.”
However, it suggested in its adjudication summary that “that the image could well have been published on an inner page without losing its effectiveness”.
In an editorial, News Corp Australia national daily The Australian argued that the Press Council did not hold the right to make such judgments.
“We will never accept that the Press Council or anyone else has any business telling us what we can and cannot publish on our front page,” the editorial said. “It is a direct challenge to editorial independence.
“The Press Council has no legitimate role in such a matter – regardless of the conclusion it may reach.
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