In a landmark decision, a federal court judge has ruled that prominent website news.com.au can no longer use the word ‘news’ in its website domain.
The decision ends a lengthy legal battle between news.com.au and the Australian Press Council, which spanned 22 months and brought ethical journalism back into the national spotlight.
The central argument put forward by the Australian Press Council was that news.com.au repeatedly failed to portray any substantial news items on its website, instead opting to run poorly researched stories often on yesterday’s top reddit threads.
The Australian Press Council has labelled the decision a long overdue win for the journalism industry, which has been on a slow decline since 2007. The decline has been too much for some news outlets, resulting in many resorting to attention seeking, click bait articles offering zero substance.
Judge Melinda Carter made the following statement after handing down her decision:
“It is the prerogative of the organisation to determine what stories it publishes, however, when that organisation tries to portray unvalidated, tabloid gossip as news, it becomes a problem for the Australian people.”
News.com.au was given just 10 days to move its website onto a new domain. There is currently no indication what that may be.