Posted November 06, 2018 08:20:08Sky Media’s parent company Fairfax Media has filed a defamation lawsuit against ABC Media’s owner, the Media Group, claiming it is trying to silence the broadcaster’s critics.
Key points:The Media Group says it has already made significant changes to its editorial standards, including a “zero tolerance” policy for defamationThe ABC has taken action against Fairfax Media, saying the company has violated ABC Media policiesThe company has accused Fairfax Media of seeking to intimidate journalistsIt says the actions are a “gross breach of ABC Media standards and practices”.
The complaint is filed in the Federal Court of Australia and was filed in relation to comments made by Fairfax Media’s chief executive, Mike Fitzpatrick, in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
Mr Fitzpatrick said Fairfax Media had “done nothing wrong” in the post.
“This is the first time in my career I have been publicly identified by the ABC as having been defamed by another party,” Mr Fitzpatrick wrote.
“The media giant is attempting to silence me and my colleagues who have spoken out against the ABC’s bias.”
Mr Fitzpatrick wrote that the ABC had done “nothing wrong” with the comments, which were published after Fairfax Media launched a scathing attack on the broadcaster.
“It’s time for the ABC to put aside the narrow and self-serving interests of those at the top of their game and do what is right for the public interest,” Mr Fitzsimons said.
“I believe the public is better served by the public having the information they need to make informed decisions about their own affairs, including on matters of public interest.”
They should not have to rely on the media company for the information that they need.
“If the ABC doesn’t do the right thing, it will be the same old game again.”
Mr Fitzsimon’s comments have since been deleted from his Facebook page.
The ABC did not respond to a request for comment.
The statement from Fairfax Media was issued hours after the filing was made public.
“Fairfax Media’s defamation policy is clear and unambiguous.
In particular, it is designed to deter anyone from making a defamatory statement, and encourages those who make such statements to apologise and retract the matter.”
To date, Fairfax Media and the ABC have done nothing wrong.
We intend to respond to Mr Fitzpatrick’s allegations in due course.
“Fairfax has previously taken action in relation in defamation cases involving Fairfax Media employees.
In November 2017, the ABC sued Fairfax Media for defamation over an interview in which it said it had not been given “a single dollar in compensation for the death of [former] editor John Fagan”.
Fairfax’s legal department told the ABC that it had also taken “appropriate action” against the company’s former chief executive Mark Thompson, which was “discussed in the course of our investigations into allegations of corporate malfeasance”.ABC managing director Mark Thompson says the media group is “fighting back” against Fairfax’s defamation suit.
Topics:broadcasting,business-economics-and-finance,religion-and/or-beliefs,australiaFirst posted November 07, 2018 09:27:15More stories from New South Wales