Crikey editor Misha Ketchell wrote the following in response to reader Matt Price in our comments section yesterday:
Crikey has never resorted to bankruptcy to avoid facing up to its legal obligations. Twice, under founder and previous owner Stephen Mayne, Crikey was found guilty of defamation, and on both occasions he paid the damages awarded by the court. Under Australia’s defamation laws we meet the same burden of proof as everyone else. We stand by our stories and when we’re made aware of errors we correct them prominently and quickly. We are confident that Crikey’s current editorial standards are at least as high as those practised by PBL, if not higher.
Just to set the record straight, I was never “found guilty of defamation” and no judge ever reflected on our content or awarded any damages.
There were three writs issued over the five and a half years that I owned Crikey and have been none since, which is quite a remarkable record. One of my writs settled with the other party paying my costs and the other two settled before the cases were heard:
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Nick Bolkus: $25,000 payment but no apology at the time of settlement as the former Labor senator just wanted the tax-free payout.
Steve Price: $50,000 payment and apology read out in open court and published on Crikey. Price spent $170,000 chasing me but settled when Justice Bongiorno only agreed to freeze $40,000 of the $110,000 of equity in our home.
The bizarre thing about James Packer’s claim is that PBL actually did sue Crikey and our TV correspondent Glenn Dyer, who were the fourth and fifth respondents in the Mark Llewellyn affidavit injunction fiasco earlier this year.
As for me claiming bankruptcy, this was only ever a perception of what would happen if someone had a win after running a big expensive case. I did actively defend all writs, spent about $25,000 in legals and stood behind everything that was published.
As for journalistic standards, how those who produce publications such as The Sun in London or Woman’s Day can criticise Crikey is beyond me.