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Crikey hands over previously secret ‘Murdoch campaign’ document

She said the news outlet made “extensive discovery” — a pre-trial process that provided access to documents — including a document titled “Lachlan Murdoch Campaign.”

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The Murdoch camp was now seeking access to more information about talks or meetings about the campaign, Amato said, but “they just aren’t needed”.

Murdoch claims the article contains up to 14 false and defamatory meanings, including that he “illegally conspired with Donald Trump to incite an armed mob to march on the Capitol” following the 2020 presidential election.

Oh dear denies that the alleged meanings were conveyed. The publisher also disputes that the article passed a new serious harm test, aimed at banishing trivial claims, which requires the person filing a defamation suit to show that the publication has “caused or is likely to cause serious harm” to their reputation. .

If the court finds that at least part of the meanings have been conveyed and the serious damage test has been met, Oh dear attempts to rely in part on a new public interest defense begun in NSW last year.

Chrysanthou has argued that the marketing campaign is relevant to the defense of the public interest, which requires Private Media to prove that the “defamatory case” was a matter of public interest and “reasonably believed … that the publication of the case was in the public interest”.

She said the reposting of the article in August had “nothing to do with public interest journalism” and was intended to further the marketing campaign, which Oh dear had spent “hundreds of thousands of dollars”.

But Amato said Private Media only had to show that it reasonably believed the publication of the article was in the public interest when the article was first published on June 29, because it made no claim that the republication would be a separate publication. to be.

The ensuing campaign would only be relevant to any aggravated damages if Murdoch won, Amato said.

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