21/06/2005 - 22:00

Australian Press Council Ruling

21/06/2005 - 22:00


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Press council dismisses complaint against WA Business News report

Press council dismisses complaint against WA Business News report


Adjudication Number 1289

June 17 2005


The Australian Press Council has dismissed a complaint by Ben Grummels against WA Business News concerning an article on building height restrictions in Scarborough.

The article, in the Property section on March 17 2005, said a report commissioned by the City of Stirling criticised the findings of the State Government’s survey, which recommended a height cap in Scarborough.

Mr Grummels, who lives and works in the area, complained that the article was biased and unbalanced because it only included comments from proponents of what he described as bad property development planning. 

He said there was no interview with representatives of the Save Our Sunset Coast Group (SOS), which, Mr Grummels says, is against poorly planned development.

WA Business News said the views of the SOS group were well known and had been published previously in the paper.

Contacting SOS in relation to the report on March 17 would not have added anything to that story. 

The article did include comment from the Scarborough Beach Association, of which Mr Grummels is a member, which criticised the Government survey.

The March 17 report was just one of several continuing stories on the issue. 

The paper sponsored a coastal development forum and had published a special four-page feature on coastal developments in October 2004, which referred to and quoted the SOS action group.

In a letter to the publisher of WA Business News, Mr Grummels accused the paper of biased reporting in its March 17 report and questioned if it was “not a real newspaper but a propaganda rag for unthinking business people”.

The letter was not published. In response to the paper’s outline of previous coverage of the views of the SOS group, Mr Grummels said he had not read them and believed there should have been balance to high-rise proponents in the March 17 edition.

The Press Council believes the paper has reported the views of all sides in its continuing coverage of highly contentious coastal planning issues and is not required to seek comment from all the stakeholders and interested parties on every single report it publishes.


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