The Press Council found that the Herald’s front-page editorial last year contained a “mis-statement of fact”, which the paper should have promptly corrected.
At heart was the paper’s assertion that democracy was under attack because anyone spending any money on electioneering would need to register as a third party to do so, when in fact only the very few who wish to spend more than $12,000 need to register.
And as COG points out today the purpose of the bill was not, as the Herald claimed, to silence free speech, but to make sure those spending large amounts of money electioneering inform voters who is behind the ads and ensuring the ability to participate in political debate doesn’t turn on the size of your bank account.
COG’s Steven Price says the ruling shows the public were not well served by the Herald’s campaign:
We strongly support the Herald’s right to comment on this important law. But it’s vital that the media doesn’t mislead the public about the basic acts. We think the Herald was exaggerating the problems with the bill in order to bolster the paper’s campaign against it.
Basically this confirms what the Left has said all along – the Herald’s partisan attacks on the Electoral Finance Bill (and now Act) have been grossly misleading and more closely resemble propaganda than news.
Our democracy relies on fair and accurate coverage from our media, and we deserve better than this from our largest daily newspaper. Unfortunately we can no longer take anything the Herald says about this legislation seriously.
Well done to COG for holding them to account.