Taking media regulation to a new level, MP For Bendigo Steve Gibbons has called for journalists to be fined or temporarily banned for inaccurate or misleading reporting.
Gibbons motivation seems to be his belief that the Finkelstein inquiry into media regulation does not have adequate recommendations to improve the ‘truthiness’ of media reporting.
“In my view, fines such as these for publishing blatant untruths or misleading news reports, or temporary suspensions of the right to publish or broadcast, would lead to a major improvement in the accuracy and fairness of our media,” Gibbons said.
“So when a media outlet, journalist, or red-necked shock jock deliberately broadcasts or publishes a statement that they know is factually wrong, and it is subsequently proven that they knew it was factually wrong, they ought to be subject to an appropriate penalty.”
While he welcomed the notion of a new press regulator, he said the majority of the council’s members should be lawyers and regulators, not media professionals and explicitly not politicians (current or former). Members with media experience would be considered as long as they weren’t currently employed in the media industry.
He said misleading reporting should be commercially significant and carry similar penalties to misleading advertising.
Well, what do the pundits think?