Some of Australia's highest-profile journalists face possible prison sentences, and large media organizations could face fines after being ordered to appear in court next month for allegedly breaching a gag order on reporting about Cardinal George Pell's convictions on charges of sexually molesting two choirboys.

Reporting in any format accessible from Australia about the former Vatican economy chief's convictions in a Melbourne court in December was banned by a judge's suppression order that was only lifted in February.

The Victoria state Supreme Court confirmed on Tuesday that an unprecedented 23 journalists, producers and broadcasters as well as 13 media organizations that employ them were summoned on April 15 for a preliminary hearing on breaches of the suppression order.

Violations carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison.