MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Charges against dozens of journalists and publishers in Australia over the reporting of Cardinal George Pell’s child sex abuse conviction will have a chilling effect on future news reporting if they are found guilty of breaching a suppression order, a lawyer defending the press told a court on Monday.
Prosecutors in the southern state of Victoria have accused 23 journalists and 13 news outlets of aiding and abetting contempt of court by overseas media and breaching suppression orders aimed at ensuring Pell a fair trial.
Pell - Catholic - Cleric - Worldwide - Child
Pell became the most senior Catholic cleric worldwide to be convicted of child sex abuse and was jailed for six years in February. He is awaiting an appeal.
Among those facing contempt charges are Nine Entertainment Co, the Age, the Australian Financial Review, Macquarie Media, and several News Corp publications.
Breaches - Suppression - Orders - Jail - Years
Breaches of suppression orders can be punished with jail for up to five years and fines of nearly A$100,000 ($71,000) for individuals, and nearly A$500,000 for companies.
Monday was the first day in court for a case that at once underscores the potentially severe consequences of breaching court reporting rules and their ineffectiveness at containing coverage in the...
Wake Up To Breaking News!