Crikey addresses the addition of two respondents to the Murdoch defamation case

Crikey peter fray

Hayward: “We feel just as strongly about those principles and about free speech as we did when this started”

Crikey has responded to the addition of two more people from its organisation that are facing legal action launched by Lachlan Murdoch.

On Monday a court ruled that Murdoch could expand his defamation claim to include Eric Beecher, chairman, publisher and co-founder of Private Media, and Will Hayward, CEO of Private Media, in his defamation proceedings against Crikey.

Murdoch is already suing politics editor Bernard Keane, and his editor, Peter Fray, for an opinion piece Crikey published last year linking the Murdoch family to the January 6th attacks on the US Capitol. 

In an email to its subscribers on Tuesday, Hayward wrote: “Yesterday, the federal court granted Lachlan Murdoch leave to add Eric Beecher and me personally to his defamation proceedings against Crikey. He launched his case against us over an opinion piece we published six months ago, in which politics editor Bernard Keane argued that Fox News and the Murdochs share some responsibility for the ongoing crisis in American democracy.

“We’ve been open all along about the principles we’re standing up for. We feel just as strongly about those principles and about free speech as we did when this started. We look forward to defending our actions in court.

“But we do need your support to keep fighting this battle,” the CEO noted. “With the court date now shifted to October, we expect our legal costs to escalate significantly.”

“Independent journalism and the free expression of fair opinion are worth fighting for. We hope you agree,” Hayward added.

Crikey - Will Hayward

Will Hayward

On Monday, the Federal Court also ruled that Murdoch was allowed to amend his statement of claim and to sue over two articles – the original Crikey article and the reposted article, The Guardian reported.
The Crikey opinion piece in question, titled Trump is a confirmed unhinged traitor. And Murdoch is his unindicted co-conspirator, was initially taken down on June 29, but was restored on August 15.
Murdoch believed the article caused serious harm to his reputation by implying he “illegally conspired with Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 presidential election result” and “illegally conspired with Donald Trump to incite a mob with murderous intent to march on the Capitol,” the AFR reported in December.

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