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Press Council slaps Rupert for Oz NBN coverage

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It’s taken the best part of half a year, but Australia’s lame-duck press self-regulator, the Australian Press Council, has given News Limited outlet the Daily Telegraph a wet slap over aspects of its NBN coverage.

The “Daily Terror” (not to be confused with the UK publication of the same name) had, the Press Council found, published articles in June and July that would have given readers the wrong impression about National Broadband Network operational costs, take-up rates, connection fees and subscription prices.

The three articles were “Australian taxpayers’ latest NBN horror show”, “Join the NBN or you’ll be digging deep” and “Low interest in high speed internet”.

According to the council, each of the stories contained factual errors that could have been corrected by research: the first gave inaccurate information about how services were operating in Tasmania; the second misrepresented both installation costs and service prices; while the third compared current broadband costs, exclusive of the copper line charge, with NBN costs that bundle the access fee.

“The Council expressed concern that within a short period of time three articles on the same theme contained inaccurate or misleading assertions. It considers that this sequence of errors should not have occurred and that they should have been corrected promptly and adequately when brought to the newspaper’s attention,” the press council notes in its adjudication. ®

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