Rupert Murdoch’s son sues Australian website for defamation | Business news

SYDNEY (AP) — The chief executive of Fox Corp. Lachlan Murdoch is suing Australian news website Crikey in Sydney for defamation over an article about last year’s storming of the US Capitol.

The son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch filed the claim in the Federal Court on Tuesday, a day after publisher Crikey Private Media chairman Eric Beecher and editor-in-chief Peter Frey put their names to an ad in The New York Times inviting Lachlan Murdoch to submit to the court.

“We await your order so that we can test this important issue of freedom of public interest journalism in a courtroom,” the two media executives said in an open letter to Lachlan Murdoch, which was also published in Australia’s The Canberra Times on Tuesday.

Murdoch is suing Private Media, Frey, who is also the website’s editor-in-chief, and Crikey’s political editor Bernard Keane.

Murdoch claims he was defamed by Keane’s column on the US Congressional investigation into the Jan. 6 uprising, published by Crikey on June 29 under the headlines: “Trump is an unmistakable traitor. And Murdoch is his unaccused accomplice.”

US cable giant Fox News is accused in a US lawsuit of airing false claims linking two election technology companies, Dominion and Smartmaticto a conspiracy to steal votes from former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, which was won by President Joe Biden.

Crikey said he applauded Murdoch’s actions. “Screams will not be silenced,” the statement released Wednesday said.

Lachlan Murdoch’s office confirmed that a defamation case had been opened but declined to comment further.

Private Media chief executive Will Hayward said in a statement: “We are determined to fight for the integrity and importance of diverse independent media in Australian democracy.”

The court date has not yet been set. Murdoch did not offer a monetary amount in the event he wins damages in court.

Crikey removed the controversial article from its website when it received a letter from Murdoch’s lawyers a day after the article was published. After a further exchange of letters between the attorneys, Crikey republished the article last week.

According to court documents, Crikey attracts an audience of at least 175,000 unique readers per month and has at least 15,000 paid subscribers.

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