Two new Australian Press Council members appointed

The Australian Press Council has approved the appointment of two new members – Matthew Ricketson, who will represent the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance and Anita Quigley, representing Community Newspapers Australia.

Professor Ricketson is the the head of journalism at the University of Canberra  and assisted former judge Ray Finkelstein during the media inquiry ordered by the Labor federal government in 2012.

His nomination by the MEAA as its representative generated some debate because of the Finkelstein inquiry recommendation to establish a statutory regulator of all news media – a position opposed by the MEAA.

“As the MEAA’s representative on the press council I will advocate the union’s position on policy issues,” Prof Ricketson said. “In the rare instances when my views diverge from that of the union, I reserve the right to express my view separately in my capacity as a journalism academic.

“The union is happy with this position which is not surprising as it is no more than the standard balancing of a person’s commitment to an organisation they represent and their freedom of speech.”

Prof Ricketson replaces MEAA representative Alan Kennedy, who has stepped down after more than 10 years of service.

Ms Quigley, the executive editor of NewsLocal – the NSW community newspaper group owner by News Corp Australia – replaces Bob Osburn as the community newspaper representative.

She has more than 20 years’ experience as a print journalist and editor on metropolitan daily and national newspapers and magazines in Australia and London.

The Press Council now has 24 members comprising:

  • the independent chair and 10 public members, who have no affiliations with a media organisation;
  • nine nominees of media organisations which are constituent bodies of the council;
  • four independent journalist members, who are not employed by a media organisation.

The press council membership accounts for some 900 mastheads and around 95 percent of newspaper and magazine circulation in Australia, as well as most of the major online news sites.

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