Independent media website New Matilda has launched a Pozible campaign for a legal fund as it faces a possible defamation case with Seven.
Seven’s lawyers strongly objected to an article on Adelaide’s Today Tonight following a report by David Richardson in which Muslims spoke out against radical extremists who reportedly wish to create a Muslim state within Australia.
New Matilda criticised the report, including suggesting that the show was racist, and describing two of its employees as “gutter” journalists.
New Matilda published the letter from HWL Ebsworth which advises the statemente “are defamatory of Mr [David] Richardson and Ms [Rosanna] Mangiarelli and constitute a malicious falsehood in relation to Channel Seven Adelaide Pty Ltd.
“They are published without regard to the facts and with no proper enquiry made to our clients as to their fairness or accuracy.”
Seven’s lawyers said, “Separating extreme views from the mainstream Muslim community … promotes broader public acceptance and understanding of Muslims and Islam.” The letter said New Matilda was hypocritical to accuse Today Tonight of lacking proper enquiries when it did the same itself.
Seven is demanding the article be removed and New Matilda issues a full apology.
But in a robust reply editor Chris Graham is standing by the article, defending the article on the basis of truth and opinion.
“If Today Tonight‘s journalism was put on trial, that would be in the public interest,” he told Fairfax. “If they’re happy to have a crack, we’re happy to go along with the ride.”
So far $12,565 of $25,000 has been pledged through Pozible.