Lachlan Murdoch Pays $1.3m To Cover Crikey Legal Fees After Defamation Battle

Lachlan Murdoch Pays $1.3m To Cover Crikey Legal Fees After Defamation Battle

Lachlan Murdoch (right) has paid $1.3 million in legal costs incurred by Private Media, the publisher of Crikey, following a long-running defamation battle about the role of the Murdochs in the January 6 insurrection.

The defamation battle started following an opinion piece published in Crikey in August last year that carried the headline “Trump is a confirmed unhinged traitor. And Murdoch is his unindicted co-conspirator”.

Murdoch filed a case against Private Media, Crikey’s publisher, former editor-in-chief Peter Fray, the company’s chairman Eric Beecher and chief exec Will Hayward in the Federal Court following the article.

Murdoch’s lawyer, John Churchill, said that “it is a matter of public record that Crikey admits that there is no truth to the imputations that were made about Mr Murdoch in the article.”

However, Murdoch withdrew his case, despite being “confident” that the court would ultimately find in his favour. Instead, Murdoch said that he “further enable Crikey’s use of the court to litigate a case from another jurisdiction” and that it was using the defamation case to “facilitate a marketing campaign designed to attract subscribers and boost their profits.”

Murdoch paid Private Media $1.3 million in full — more than the $1.1 million asked for — on the condition the company donate all $588,735 secured from supporters of its GoFundMe defence fund to the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom.

On Tuesday, Hayward said he was “delighted” to be able to pass on the funds donated by Crikey’s supporters: “This money was raised from the goodwill of people across Australia who believe in the importance of free speech. These funds will now go to support the alliance and its team as they champion that cause across the world.”

Peter Greste, executive director of the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom said he was both “grateful and humbled” by the donation.

“We will put the funds to good use, to promote greater press freedom, which is essential to a healthy democracy. This includes campaigning for a media freedom act, supported by a voluntary membership that will recognise quality journalism,” he said.




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