A statement from the Melbourne Press Club board

The Melbourne Press Club has appointed three leading journalists/editors and a senior barrister to an Independent Panel to review the club's recent decision to annul the 2020 Quill for Sports News Reporting.

The panel is to be chaired by Dr Matt Collins AM QC, a leading barrister and media law specialist. He has written leading legal texts on media law and is the President of  the Australian Bar Association. He has appeared in major defamation and free speech cases and as counsel assisting royal commissions.

Matt will be joined on the panel by:

Sydney based Jonathan Holmes, former Executive Producer of Four Corners and 7.30 Report, former senior reporter at Four Corners and foreign correspondent, former host of Media Watch. Jonathan has overseen some of the most important journalism in Australia as Four Corners EP and has significant experience dealing with litigation and questions of media ethics and practice;

Melbourne based Jill Baker, who has edited major newspapers in Melbourne for Fairfax and News Ltd as part of a decorated career. She is widely respected as a journalist, editor and industry leader;

John Ferguson, the Associate Editor of The Australian in Melbourne. A former foreign correspondent, John has held senior journalism roles in the Canberra and Spring Street press galleries and is a leading journalist in Melbourne's media with more than 35 years reporting experience. He was previously The Australia’s Victorian editor.

After undertaking its review, the panel will advise the MPC board of its recommendations in respect of the decision to annul the award, as well as the ideal process for dealing with similar cases if they arise in the future. The process undertaken by the panel, while subject to input from the MPC board, will ultimately be a matter for the panel.

The Melbourne Press Club will advise its members of the panel's recommendations once they are shared with the board, as well as the board's response.

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