The Australian Press Council was established in 1976 and is responsible for promoting good standards of media practice, community access to information of public interest, and freedom of expression through the media.
The Press Council is also the principal body with responsibility for responding to complaints about Australian newspapers, magazines and associated digital outlets.
In accordance with its Constitution, the Council pursues these goals by
- considering and dealing with complaints and concerns about material in newspapers, magazines and journals, published either in print or on the Internet;
- encouraging and supporting initiatives to address the causes for readers' complaints and concerns;
- keeping under review, and where appropriate, challenging developments which may adversely affect the dissemination of information of public interest and may consequently threaten the public's right to know;
- making representations to governments, public inquiries and other forums as appropriate on matters concerning freedom of speech and access to information;
- undertaking research and consultation on developments in public policy affecting freedom of speech, and promoting public awareness of such issues;
- promoting an understanding of the roles and activities of the Council through forums and consultations; and encouraging feedback for Council's consideration.
The Council currently has 23 members, comprising the Chair and
- two Vice-Chairs and seven other "public members", who have no affiliation with a media organisation;
- eleven nominees of media organisations, including all the major publishers of newspapers and magazines as well as the principal union for employees in the media industry;
- and two independent journalist members, who are not employed by a media organisation.
The independent Chair is chosen by the Council. The public members and independent journalist members are appointed by the Council on the nomination of the Chair. The nominees of publishers are chosen by the media organisations which have agreed to support the Council and be subject to its complaints system. All members are expected to act and vote as individuals, not as representatives of any organisation or interest.