Lachlan Murdoch opens defamation lawsuit against Australian website
A libel suit launched by Lachlan Murdoch, the eldest son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, against Australian news site Crikey had its first day in court on Friday.
Mr. Murdoch, who is the chief executive of Fox Corp and co-chairman of News Corp, is suing Private Media over an opinion piece about the storming of the US Capitol.
He claims he was defamed in the article by Crikey political editor Bernard Keane, which was headlined: “Trump is a confirmed unhinged traitor. And Murdoch is his unindicted co-conspirator.
In his defense, filed in court on Friday, Crikey argued that the opinion piece was in the public interest.
Last month, Crikey ran a full-page ad in The New York Times inviting the trial, saying he wanted to “test this important issue of freedom of public interest journalism in a courtroom.” .
The libel suit was filed the next day.
The website presented the battle as a battle of free speech and highlighted the differences in size and wealth between itself and businesses owned by the Murdoch family.
He launched a Go Fund Me in his defense and, in a statement on Thursday, chief executive Will Hayward said: ‘We believe it is important in an open and well-functioning society that the rich and powerful can be criticized.”
In a statement, a lawyer representing Mr Murdoch accused Crikey of using the situation for “self-promotion” and to “raise awareness of Crikey’s website and increase subscribers” and said the journalism allegation of public interest was “dishonest”.