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Neville fights to keep media free

FEDERAL MP Paul Neville has condemned the recommendation of a government-funded media regulation body.

The Member for Hinkler gave a speech to the Federation Chamber on Monday in response to the Finkelstein media inquiry, whose recommendations included a News Media Council.

"We do not need, nor will I support, the external control of media content," Mr Neville said in parliament this week.

"That is ultimately what would happen with a news media council."

Mr Neville said it was evident motivation behind the inquiry was the insecurity in the Gillard government of sustained media scrutiny.

He said he supported the opinion of former High Court Justice Ian Callinan that any form of regulation of media was simply too risky.

Mr Neville cited examples such as former Washington Post journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward and a 19th century French opinion piece in the defence of free press.

"There are many examples of this in the history of good journalism," he said.

"What I do not want is some external body controlling that sort of freedom and I will oppose it bitterly."

Mr Neville's speech was partly in response to a call from Member for Bendigo Steve Gibbons for fines for journalists who report misleading and inaccurate information.

"When a media outlet, journalist or redneck shock jock deliberately broadcasts or publishes a statement that they know is factually wrong and it is subsequently proven that they knew it was factually wrong they ought to be subject to an appropriate penalty," Mr Gibbons told the chamber.

Topics:  federal government, media inquiry, paul neville


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