Sydney, Australia, Aug 24 (EFE).- Media mogul Lachlan Murdoch is suing independent Australian news outlet Crikey over an opinion piece that linked his family and Fox News with the US Capitol riot on Jan. 6 last year.
Murdoch, eldest son of tycoon Rupert Murdoch and CEO and executive chairman of Fox Corporation, launched a lawsuit against Crikey’s publisher Private Media in Australia’s Federal Court over the article headlined “Trump is a confirmed unhinged traitor. And Murdoch is his unindicted co-conspirator.”
The also-News Corp co-chairman was not specifically named in the article.
Murdoch’s lawyers say the article implied that the businessman illegally conspired with former US president Donald Trump to incite a mob to march on Capitol Hill to physically prevent the confirmation of the 2020 presidential election result.
“Murdoch has been gravely injured in his character, his personal reputation and his professional reputation as a business person and company director and has suffered and will continue to suffer substantial hurt, distress and embarrassment,” court documents cited by Australian media said.
Crikey’s editor-in-chief Peter Fray and Private Media chairman Eric Beecher defended the article on Wednesday.
“Crikey stands by its story and we look forward to defending our independent public interest journalism in court against the considerable resources of Lachlan Murdoch,” they said.
“We are determined to fight for the integrity and importance of diverse independent media in Australian democracy.”
The opinion piece, written by political editor Bernard Keane, was removed from the website a day after it was published, but later re-uploaded along with a series of letters from Murdoch’s lawyers.
In an article published Wednesday, Keane wrote that “to suggest that either the Murdochs do not have some responsibility for the events of January 6, or that making that suggestion should be punished in court, is an extraordinary denial of the public interest. Yet that is what Lachlan Murdoch is now pursuing in the Federal Court.”
Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull told public broadcaster ABC that “very few people have defamed more people than the Murdochs over the years through their media organization. They’re always bleating about freedom of speech and how the defamation laws are too harsh.”
“January 6 could not have happened without the toxic influence of Fox News,” Turnbull stressed. EFE