WA council has led to quicker decisions: Cronin

Since its founding two years ago the Independent Media Council (IMC) has led to more efficient and direct resolution of complaints against newspapers and magazines, says West Australian Newspapers (WAN) group editor-in-chief Bob Cronin.

The IMC was established in 2012 as a self-regulatory body based in Western Australia to promote freedom of speech and to adjudicate public complaints regarding the print and online media publications of the major funding body, Seven West Media, including WAN and Pacific Magazines.

Mr Cronin said that since moving complaint adjudication duties to the locally-based IMC, WAN had seen complaints dealt with more efficiently, and advocates for the establishment of other state-based self-regulatory bodies.

“The process is quick – the longest time probably from a complaint to a decision has been about three weeks,” he said.

According to Mr Cronin, because the IMC has specific local knowledge and an understanding of local issues, it helps them communicate with local readers. He said that the majority of complaints to the IMC were deferred to the newspaper or magazine and a resolution negotiated directly between the complainant and the publisher.

“Once you speak to the complainant, find out what exactly they’re complaining about – if we think they’ve got a case we say ‘OK, what would you like us to do to fix it? Do want to write a letter, or do you want us to publish a clarification or a correction?’,” he said.

“If we can’t resolve it, well then it goes back to the council and within two weeks at the outside, it issues its adjudication.”

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