Coalition NBN Propaganda Allegations Blasted

Well, it would seem that the Coalition are continuing to muck rake against the National Broadband Network (NBN) project, apparently running to the relevant umpire – (in this case, the ACCC) – in regards to a “promotional supplement” in appearing in a newspaper local to my past sparring partner, Paul Fletcher.

Fletcher goes on the front foot, claiming that NBN advertising was being disguised as news and that it “blurs the boundary between news content and advertorials”, stating:

“I have written to the ACCC to ask it to investigate whether these statements are misleading and deceptive.”

NBN Co was, of course, quick to retort, blasting Fletcher with a series of tweets:

“NBN Co did not pay for or solicit the supplement that appeared in The Age/SMH. Nor did we have any influence over the editorial content.”

“We responded to queries from journalists writing the supplement as we would every legitimate journalistic query.”

“And we receive on average 100 queries a week from media.”

“Nor did we pay for or dictate the editorial content in the article in News Community newspapers. The editorial space was negotiated after NBN Co took out advertisements in the titles to inform people of the rollout. We were asked to contribute information and check facts. But the article was written by a News Limited journalist.”

My only question is, did Fletcher seek comment from NBN Co before running to the ACCC, which would thereby give them a right of reply?

Given the recent lack of facts from the Coalition in regards to this entire project, one must question their motives, and answer “probably not”.

As it stands, NBN Co will now have to deal with an ACCC matter, when Fletcher could have saved the time and effort by just picking up the phone to NBN Co.

It will be interesting to see how this attempt at muck raking plays out.

(UPDATE: It has now been confirmed to me here by NBN Co that Mr Fletcher did NOT seek comment from NBN Co before making contact with the ACCC.)

(FURTHER UPDATE: It has become known of the advertising features in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, that Optus ”sponsored the supplement exclusively”, and that they had nothing to do with NBN Co.)

(FOOTNOTE: The series of six tweets from NBN CO are here, here, here, here, here, and