APC Statements of Principles


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 Council is the principal body with responsibility for responding to complaints about Australian newspapers, magazines and associated digital outlets.

The Council’s Statements of Principles are binding on all publications which are subject to its jurisdiction. The Council’s Standards of Practice relating to print and online publishing are contained in:

  • the Statement of General Principles; and
  • the Statement of Privacy Principles.

The Statements of Principles are interpreted and applied to by the Council responding to particular complaints. Along with the Specific Standards, they form the Council’s Standards of Practice.

The Statement of General Principles


Publications are free to publish as they wish by reporting facts and expressing opinions, provided they take reasonable steps to comply with the following Principles and the Council’s other Standards of Practice:

Accuracy and clarity

1. Ensure that factual material in news reports and elsewhere is accurate and not misleading, and is distinguishable from other material such as opinion.

2. Provide a correction or other adequate remedial action if published material is significantly inaccurate or misleading.

Fairness and balance

3. Ensure that factual material is presented with reasonable fairness and balance, and that writers’ expressions of opinion are not based on significantly inaccurate factual material or omission of key facts.

4. Ensure that where material refers adversely to a person, a fair opportunity is given for subsequent publication of a reply if that is reasonably necessary to address a possible breach of General Principle 3.

Privacy and avoidance of harm

5. Avoid intruding on a person’s reasonable expectations of privacy, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.

6. Avoid causing or contributing materially to substantial offence, distress or prejudice, or a substantial risk to health or safety, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.

Integrity and transparency

7. Avoid publishing material which has been gathered by deceptive or unfair means, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.

8. Ensure that conflicts of interests are avoided or adequately disclosed, and that they do not influence published material.


The Statement of Privacy Principles

These cover the following areas:

  • Collection of personal information
  • Use and disclosure of personal information
  • Quality of personal information
  • Security of personal information
  • Anonymity of sources
  • Correction, fairness and balance
  • Sensitive personal information

Source: https://www.presscouncil.org.au/statements-of-principles/

Check out the Press Council’s latest rulings on alleged breeches of these principles here: https://www.presscouncil.org.au/