Mareeba newspaper’s selective court reporting
from contributing editor Robert J Lee in Cairns
A reader has advised Cairns News the local newspaper at Mareeba in FNQ, the Tablelands Advertiser, owned by Rupert Murdoch has been selectively publishing court cases involving drivers caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. We are advised as many as 10 or more DUI cases could be heard each week in the Mareeba Courthouse yet staff of the newspaper arbitrarily or otherwise select which case will be reported. Only a few of the full list of court cases have been published in recent editions.
This practice is contrary to the unwritten, long-standing rule of responsible regional publishers to either publish full details of every court case or not to disclose the name of the accused and selectively report on the merit of the case, or in many cases not to publish court news at all.
This small weekly newspaper that is supposedly reporting for the northern Tablelands communities, not dissimilar to most other News Ltd publications, is doing the community a disservice by discriminating against those whose name has been published.
There have been cases of suicide caused by indiscriminate publishing of DUI cases where the driver was charged while under the influence due to innumerable personal reasons some of which have been depression, family deaths and in a recent case the loss of a custody battle in the Family Court.
The ‘one size fits all’ .05 blood alcohol content limit in itself is woefully discriminatory. Those with a large body mass react much differently to those of smaller bodies or the ability of others to handle larger amounts of alcohol.
We advise readers affected by the Advertiser’s (or any other newspaper’s) selective reporting to contact us at email@example.com to get assistance for making a complaint to the Press Council or how to seek a legal remedy.
We should note the Press Council is largely a toothless tiger which has been accused of having News Ltd patronage.
A complaint can be sent to: http://www.presscouncil.org.au/making-a-complaint/
A local complaint can also be sent to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org