The Wall Street Journal has been banned from embargoed Treasury briefings until the 2025 budget after it accidentally broke this year’s embargo an hour early.
The local arm of the New York-based publication won’t be allowed entry into the Treasury’s budget, government financial statements, half-year update, and pre-election update briefings until the 2025 budget, the government agency said in a statement.
“These consequences for WSJ and the specific journalist are proportionate with the degree of seriousness of the embargo breach and the need to reinforce to everyone the importance of compliance with the lock-up protocols,” Treasury deputy chief executive Struan Little said.
The Journal published key information from the 2022 budget an hour earlier than the embargo. This was then carried on the Dow Jones newswires – both are owned by News Corp – giving basic details of the information that financial market participants use to trade foreign exchange, bonds, and equities.
The Treasury said the WSJ journalist proactively told officials of the breach and, in a subsequent review of how things went wrong, the media group said a failsafe to prevent accidental transmission hadn’t been installed on the person’s laptop and a subsequent editorial process to prevent such breaches was skipped.
The reporter has been banned until the 2025 budget irrespective of whether they move to another organisation.
The Treasury accidentally uploaded documents relevant to the budget in 2019 that could be publicly accessed and were seized upon by the National opposition, which led to unfounded accusations of hacking.
In 2016, the Reserve Bank ended its embargoed briefings for media and market analysts after a MediaWorks reporter sent details of a monetary policy decision to workers in the Newshub office.