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Lachlan Murdoch Sues Australian News Site Crikey

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Lachlan Murdoch, the chief executive of the Fox Corporation, filed a defamation lawsuit against an Australian news site on Tuesday, a day after the outlet challenged him to make good on his threats to sue over a column that claimed links between the Murdoch family and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Mr. Murdoch, a son of Rupert Murdoch, the Fox chairman, filed an announcement of claim against Private Media, the parent company of the news outlet, Crikey, in Federal Court in Australia. A day earlier, Crikey issued its challenge to Lachlan Murdoch in an open letter and in an commercial in The Recent York Times, saying it desired to make the dispute a test case for Australia’s strict defamation laws.

The opinion article at the middle of the conflict, which lamented the “sorry state of U.S. politics and the Jan. 6 rebel,” carried the headline: “Trump is a confirmed unhinged traitor. And Murdoch is his unindicted co-conspirator.” It went on to say the Murdochs and “poisonous” Fox News commentators contributed to the assault on American democracy.

Within the statement of claim, Mr. Murdoch’s lawyers allege that the article carries the imputation that Mr. Murdoch “conspired with Donald Trump to steer an armed mob on Congress to overturn the 2020 election end result” and ought to be indicted for “being a traitor to america of America.”

The statement alleges that Mr. Murdoch was harmed not only by the unique article, but additionally by the steps that Crikey took after the initial letter from his lawyers, which called on the news site to take the article down and publish an apology.

Key Revelations From the Jan. 6 Hearings

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Key Revelations From the Jan. 6 Hearings

Making a case against Trump. The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack is laying out a comprehensive narrative of President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Listed below are the fundamental themes which have emerged to date from eight public hearings:

Key Revelations From the Jan. 6 Hearings

Pressuring Pence. Mr. Trump continued pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to associate with a plan to overturn his loss even after he was told it was illegal, in response to testimony laid out by the panel through the third hearing. The committee showed how Mr. Trump’s actions led his supporters to storm the Capitol, sending Mr. Pence fleeing for his life.

After first taking down the article, Crikey offered to publish a clarifying statement but didn’t apologize. When Mr. Murdoch again requested an apology, it reposted the article. Crikey then published the legal correspondence between the 2 parties and ran an ad in The Recent York Times saying it “desired to defend these allegations in court” as a way of testing Australia’s harsh defamation laws.

This was a part of a “disingenuous scheme” to “conduct a campaign of self-promotion” and increase Crikey’s subscribers, the statement said.

Crikey further defamed Mr. Murdoch by suggesting that he was being unreasonable in his conduct toward them, when he “repeatedly told them that an apology was the one further step that needed to occur for the matter to resolve,” the statement added.

In legal letters published by Crikey, Mr. Murdoch’s lawyers asserted that the article contained “scandalous allegations of criminal conduct and conspiracy” and imputations which might be “false and calculated to harm Mr. Murdoch.”

Peter Fray, the editor in chief of Crikey, said in an announcement on Tuesday, “Crikey stands by its story, and we sit up for defending our independent public interest journalism in court against the considerable resources of Lachlan Murdoch.”

Mr. Fray added, “We welcome the possibility to check what an honest, open and public debate actually means free of charge speech in Australia.”

In america, Fox is fighting its own defamation suits tied to the 2020 election. Two voting machine corporations have filed multibillion-dollar claims, arguing that Fox News knowingly and repeatedly aired false statements linking them to a conspiracy to steal votes from former President Donald J. Trump.

Fox has said the lawsuits are an assault on First Amendment protections for journalists.

Those protections make it much harder to successfully sue media organizations in america than in Australia, where public figures incessantly sue for libel and news outlets have said the laws are an impediment to press freedom.

Australia recently enacted latest defamation laws across most states that require plaintiffs to point out that a publication caused “serious harm” to their reputations and permit defendants to argue publication was a matter of public interest.

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