Karl Stefanovic launches defamation action against newspaper

Karl Stefanovic has initiated defamation proceedings against the Sunday Telegraph following articles around his network salary and employment regarding the Today show.

He claims articles by columnist Annette Sharp “greatly injured” his reputation, by suggesting he take a pay cut to return to the beleaguered breakfast show. They speculated he took as much as a $1m paycut.

The Australian reports documents were filed with the Federal Court on Monday against Nationwide News and Sharp, seeking unspecified damages, aggravated damages and for the articles to be taken offline.

Stefanovic, who returns to Today in the new year, claims the articles implied he “seriously breached the standards expected of him.”

The legal action is a signal that future articles could also be actionable if they go too far. But Nine is already deep in the midst of uncomplimentary articles after it took control of Fairfax newspapers, and this move won’t help put an end to that.

Nine is understood not to be footing the legal bill of lawyer Mark O’Brien and barrister Bruce McClintock, with CEO Hugh Marks revealing he was “unaware” the action was taking place.

A directions hearing will take place on January 11.

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