News Corp’s News.com.au has been censured by the Australian Press Council for its article headlined “Record $US1.5b Powerball draw now open to Australian punters” which the council ruled was misleading.
The article in question reported on a betting company Lottoland “giving Australians the chance to enter the world’s biggest ever lottery, the whopping $US1.5b ($2.15b) Powerball jackpot”.
However a complaint suggested the article – published on January 13 – was misleading as it suggested Australian citizens are able to “enter” directly into a US lottery.
When questioned on this by the Press Council, News.com.au admitted that Lottoland does not offer Australians the opportunity to enter the Powerball lottery but rather bet on the outcome of that lottery.
News.com.au said the article was based partly on a Lottoland press release and it published an “explainer” article on January 19.
The publication also said that on February 15, after being made aware of the complaint, the original article was amended in an effort to ensure the source of any reader confusion was removed.
However, it was the Council’s view that as the article went uncorrected for a week, it did breach the council’s General Principles around ensuring that factual material is accurate and not misleading and that the article is reasonably fair and balanced.
The Council acknowledged the publication’s changes to the original article in February; however, expected News.com.au to have become aware the original article was inaccurate earlier.
It also ruled that News.com.au did not take the reasonable steps required to link the January 19 explainer piece to the original article, nor publicise the changes to the original article enough by showcasing it on the home page.