Finkelstein Mostly Welcome, but Fails on Privacy Protection Aspects

The Report on the Inquiry into the Media and Media Regulation (by The Hon R Finkelstein QC assisted by Prof M Ricketson) was presented on 28 February 2012.

The Australian Privacy Foundation (APF) welcomes most of the Report's Recommendations. Specific aspects that it strongly supports are listed below.

However, the APF expresses severe disappointment about a major failing of the Finkelstein Inquiry.

The Report concluded that "[the new] journalistic standards for the news media standards will likely be substantially the same as those that presently apply and which all profess to embrace" (Exec Summary, para. 8).

The existing (although poorly enforced) standards may be reasonable in relation to such matters as accuracy, fairness in reporting, avoidance of discrimination, and declaration of potential conflicts of interest.

On the other hand, all existing Codes are massively deficient in relation to privacy.

A recent study by a member of the APF's Board (references below) documented the many shortfalls in relation to:

It is essential that the new journalistic standards be substantially upgraded in relation to privacy.

The APF strongly supports most aspects of the Finkelstein Report, including:

All of these Recommendations correspond closely to the APF's Submissions of 18 November 2011, and 9 January 2012.


APF (2009) 'Privacy and the Media' Policy Statement, Australian Privacy Foundation, March 2009

Clarke R. (2012a) 'Privacy and the Media: A Platform for Change?' Working Paper, January 2012, plus supporting documents:

Clarke R. (2012b) 'Surveillance by the Media, and Its Regulation' Working Paper, February 2012