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Cartoonist Mark Knight Quits Journalist Union

Australian editorial cartoonist Mark Knight has quit the journalists’ union there
after they took an action he didn’t approve.

From The Australian:

After a lifetime of membership, Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight has quit the journalists union after its “latest perversion” of withdrawing from the Australian Press Council. According to Sky News host Chris Kenny, the journalists union no longer thinks the Press Council is “fit for the purpose” of being a credible regulator of journalism. “The union did take exception to how the press council dismissed complaints about a controversial Mark Knight cartoon of Serena Williams,” he said. “It caused a stink and the Press Council ruled … standards were not breached. “This was a win for journalism … a win for common sense. Not according to the journos union, it apparently wanted more action against its own member, Knight.” Mr Kenny spoke with Mr Knight – who has now quit the journalists union – about the issue.

The Sky News report is embedded in The Australian story. The host of the TV segment and the two commentators invited to discuss Mark Knight giving up on the union are all ex-union people themselves. Maybe it should be noted that Mark Knight’s Herald Sun, The Australian, and Sky News are all part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Australia.

The Media Entertainment And Arts (MEAA) statement that led to Knight’s withdrawal:

The National Media Section Committee of the MEAA – a governing committee made up of rank-and-file members – resolved last night to advise the APC that it will be giving the required four years notice to leave the organisation in 2025.

This decision follows consultation and feedback from Media section members that was overwhelmingly in favour of the union withdrawing.

MEAA Media federal president Marcus Strom said the union had contributed $1 million in fees to the Press Council over the past decade, but that increasingly MEAA members were dissatisfied with the role played by the regulator. He noted that despite media convergence being a lived reality for journalists and the public for a decade, the regulatory framework had failed to keep up to date.

   

So while some accuse the union of giving notice because the Australian Press Council (APC) is not “woke” enough, other say the APC is basically a wholly owned subsidiary of News Corp.

The [APC] is not independent, has “proved to be ineffectual”, and is largely funded by News Corp, Dr Denis Muller tells the media diversity inquiry.

The Australian Press Council responded to the MEAA action:

While the APC does not agree with all of the observations in the MEAA press release, it does recognise the need for the self-regulatory regime to evolve to take account of convergence across all media platforms.

The APC’s publisher members agree to comply with its binding Standards of Practice. These are periodically updated and Advisory Guidelines issued following community consultation, the most recent of which is the Advisory Guideline for reporting on people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics.

Material is evaluated against the Standards of Practice by the APC’s Adjudication Panels, which are independent of publishers, and which make an Adjudication decision which the publisher member is compelled to publish.

All the while, Mark Knight persists.

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