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Former public servant named Press Council chair

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The Australian Press Council has appointed former senior public servant Neville Stevens as chair, replacing Professor David Weisbrot who resigned earlier this year amid controversy over the appointment of a political activist as a public member.

Mr Stevens has held a number of government roles, including in the fields of media and communications.

These include:

  • Chairman of the NSW government’s Council for Innovation and Productivity
  • Chairman of NICTA (Australia’s Information and Communications Technology Research Centre of Excellence)
  • Independent chairman of Communications Alliance
  • Independent chairman of the Broadband Management Committee
  • Head of a review for the Australian government into Indigenous broadcasting.

His predecessor, Professor David Weisbrot resigned in June following criticism over the appointment of GetUp! deputy chair Carla McGrath. Following her appointment, News Corp Australia publications announced they would not support any adjudication in which Ms McGrath was involved.

Mr Stevens said he looked forward to working with member organisations to ensure robust reporting and a free press in the digital age.

“The media sector is undergoing rapid change as digital technology disrupts traditional business models,” he said. “The need for a robust and responsible media sector has never been greater. I believe that the Press Council should be a strong advocate for a free and responsible press and freedom of speech.

“I embrace the opportunity to build on what he and others have achieved by working with the Press Council, all its members and the wider community on these issues.”

Mr Stevens will commence his role in January.

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