Over $1 Million Of Fines Issued To Publishers Over Cardinal Pell Reporting

Over $1 Million Of Fines Issued To Publishers Over Cardinal Pell Reporting
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine



The Victorian supreme court has doled out over $1 million in fines for media outlets over their reporting of Cardinal Pell’s now-overturned conviction for sexual abuse.

The Age was fined $450,000 while news.com.au was fined $400,000 in the two biggest fines, while 10 more publications were also fined.

Justice John Dixon said that articles by those two publications in particular “constituted a blatant and wilful defiance of the court’s authority.”

The fines refer to the choice by a number of publications to breach a suppression order over Pell’s guilty charge in December 2018, while he was awaiting a second trial for different charges.

While the publications did not name Pell, mastheads like the Herald Sun published a black and white front page with the banner ‘CENSORED’ over it, with a one-page editorial reading: “The Herald Sun is prevented from publishing details of this very significant news. But trust us, it’s a story you deserve to read.”

Other publications linked out to international stories, which did not face a suppression order and therefore named Pell.

In April 2020, the charges against Pell were overturned, while the charges for the second trial were dropped in 2019.

In February, a number of news outlets – including News Corp, Nine, Mamamia, and 2GB – pled guilty to breaching the suppression order. Charges were then dropped against some of the journalists and publications named in the original media contempt case.

Justice Dixon said that “I have found that the media respondents frustrated the suppression order as they diminished its purpose or efficacy by reporting information contrary to the terms of the order. ”

“The media respondents usurped the function of the court in protecting the proper administration of justice and took it upon themselves to determine where the balance lay between Pell’s right to a fair second trial.”

Featured Image: Cardinal George Pell in an interview with Andrew Bolt last year, posted by Sky News Australia




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