A Press Council meeting last month was told 165 of 387 complaints that had been active for more than 17 weeks had been lodged by the outfit’s two directors. The lobby group has two directors — Claire Southey, 40, and Lilian Dean, 41, documents filed with the corporate regulator reveal. Both work in IT-related roles for major companies, according to their LinkedIn profiles.
The Sydney-based group has become a headache for the press council — swamping it with complaints about reporting on transgender issues. The group keeps a low profile but appears to be single-handedly trying to shape reporting on transgender issues by tying up the media in complaints that take many executive hours to resolve. The council’s constituent members will meet today to discuss the body’s handling of issues related to the transgender community.
The press council has been dragged by Rainbow Rights Watch before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, accused of discriminating against transgender people by treating the group’s complaints less favourably than equivalent claims from refugees, Muslims and others. The dispute was referred to NCAT by the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board.
News.com.au editor-in-chief Kate de Brito said this week the press council seemed “determined to censor the media from using the word ‘transgender’ ”.
Daily Mail Australia managing director Peter Holder said his organisation was a committed press council member but was “becoming increasingly concerned and frustrated” by the way it was “being held to ransom by a small but well-drilled group which appears to oppose any use of the ‘T word’ ”.
The flood of complaints is understood to be draining the Press Council’s limited resources.