Skip to main content

Media guidelines

The Disability Royal Commission recognises that the media has an important role to play in reporting on its work. The following guidelines are to help media report on the Royal Commission's work.

Media guidelines for public hearings

Efforts will be made to set up a media room at key events, which will usually include a live broadcast of proceedings and access to live transcripts.

Live streaming of public hearings will be made available through a webcast on the Disability Royal Commission website. The livestream will include live captioning and Auslan-English interpreters.

Journalists can access live transcripts at hearings. Please contact the Royal Commission Media team in advance to arrange access.

Filming, audio recording or still photography in any hearing room is not permitted unless by prior arrangement with the Media team. 

Interviews with witnesses and members of the public will not be facilitated by the Royal Commission.

The Disability Royal Commission will usually arrange a professional photographer for major events and forums. Images can be shared on request as soon as they're available.

The Royal Commission has powers to direct that evidence not be published. A non-publication direction order may be made, varied and/or lifted during a public hearing. It is the responsibility of the media to comply with any non-publication orders.

Transcripts of the Commission's public hearings will be made available on the Royal Commission's website following the hearings. The transcript will reflect any relevant non-publication orders.

The Royal Commission will be implementing measures to ensure accessibility. We encourage media to do the same and include captions, image descriptions, alt-text, Easy English, and audio descriptions as part of their coverage.

Disturbing and distressing content will emerge during the Disability Royal Commission. We encourage media to include details about support services in their coverage.

Media guidelines for private sessions

People who want to give information to the Disability Royal Commission about violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability, including their own experiences, can tell their story to a Commissioner in a private session.

The Royal Commissions Act 1902 (Cth) (the Act) sets out what can and cannot be reported about private sessions. Under s.6OH it is an offence to disclose information obtained at a private session without authorisation.

A person telling their story in a private session can tell their story to a journalist. The journalist may, with that person’s consent, tell this story in a media report.

A journalist cannot report any information given at a private session unless:

  • the journalist was the person who provided the information
  • the person who provided the information consents to its disclosure
  • the Royal Commission authorises under s 6OH(c)(ii) for the making of a report.

This means that no information about the private session itself can be reported without the consent of the Royal Commission. Further, anything said by a Royal Commissioner during a private session cannot be reported.

Media cannot report:

  • Information about the private session, including the venue; the date or time of the private session; the names of Commissioner(s) or Royal Commission staff; the names of the person attending and any support people
  • Information about the experiences shared with the Commissioner(s) by the person attending the private session, including the names of any persons or institutions mentioned during the private session
  • Information that was given verbally, in documents, in writing or electronically to the Royal Commission: before the private session, in anticipation of the private session; during the private session; or after the private session, provided that this supplementary information was discussed at or foreshadowed during the private session
  • Information given by any of the people who are present at a private session, including the person who attends the private session to share their own experience of child sexual abuse in an institution, support people, Commissioners and Royal Commission staff.

If you have any questions, please contact DRCMedia@RoyalCommission.gov.au or call 0436 841 166