John Drinnan is a fool.
His latest column mentions the decision b the Press Council to open up membership finally to online media.
This is interesting because in current proceedings before the Human Rights Review Tribunal I haveÂ told I can’t be a journalist because i’m not a member of a voluntary regime like the Press Council, but the lawyer ignored the problem that until last week I couldn’t possibly join because their constitution wouldn’t allow it.
I also had to battle that premise int eh High Court, but fortunately Justice Asher saw through that attempt, not so you would know it from the perspective of the Human Rights Commission.
The idea of expanding the Press Council’s reach has been around for years and was given a boost after the Law Commission suggested digital media should join a combined media standards organisation, in return for receiving legal protections available to journalists. Then Justice Minister Judith Collins – a close friend of Slater – quashed that plan.
However the Press Council has since gone ahead with a scheme to represent digital media and blogs under its own steam, and that was unveiled this week.
But the ethics of bloggers and the media in general have come under deep scrutiny since Dirty Politics was published. Neville said it was clear in Press Council rules that publishers could not be paid for editorial.
“There is a grey area now with so-called native advertising, which is meant to be quality journalism which stacks up on its journalistic merits, even though it is sympathetic to one party.”
There were questions about whether the Press Council should have jurisdiction over native content, or if that should be covered by the Advertising Standards Authority.
Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager said the Press Council was getting into complex waters judging digital media on the basis of individuals rather than articles, and deciding whether they were journalism or not.
“My fear would be what could happen is that unscrupulous blogs could be given credibility but not end up with any accountability.
“Sometimes people are publishing public relations, and sometimes journalism,” he said.