University of Canberra journalism academic Julie Posetti has accused The Australian
of bullying tactics by running an incorrect story yesterday complaining she failed to disclose the newspaper was threatening her with legal action in an ABC radio interview about Twitter.
The yarn, published yesterday on page 8 of the national broadsheet and headlined 'Academic warns of Twitter danger' [not online, despite author Caroline Overington's claim on Twitter
that she would post it by yesterday "afternoon"] quoted Posetti as pronouncing that misleading and defamatory Tweets could lead to "all sorts of trouble" if people "let fingers run ahead of their brain".
In fact, it was ABC 702 Mornings host Deborah Cameron, not Posetti, that made the "trouble" comment and a quick check of the interview's audio
reveals that neither had made any reference to defamation. Overington's explanation on Twitter
was that the misquoting error was "my bad".
and Posetti are currently embroiled in a legal stoush after Posetti tweeted former Oz
reporter Asa Wahlquist's comments at a journalism conference in November suggesting the newspaper's editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell had stood over his charge to ensure a more skeptical line on climate change. However, a writ is yet to be issued in the case and Posetti contends that her freedom of speech has been curbed while the News Limited legal threat lingers.
In February, Mitchell told
the Sunday Canberra Times
that he "...had not dropped the action." Yesterday's story implied that Posetti was guilty of double standards by apparently endorsing The Australian
Posetti hit back when contacted by Crikey
this morning: "I feel that this ongoing pursuit of me by The Australian
is having a chilling effect and limiting effect on my rights to academic and journalistic freedom which is extremely ironic in the week of the 20th anniversary of World Press Freedom day."
"I'm perplexed and amused the irony of this story. Having been asked to comment on my ethics in regard to my alleged failure to bring up Chris Mitchell's renewed threats to sue in a interview regarding the social media aspects of the assassination of Osama bin Laden, the real question might be the ethics of a national newspaper assigning a reporter to continue to pursue a story based on the personal agenda of her editor-and-chief."
"The irony is that a story about my alleged inaccurate reporting was in fact itself inaccurate."
This morning, The Australian
issued a correction over the yarn [also not online], admitting that Cameron's quotes were mistakenly attributed to Posetti. However, it failed to correct a smattering of other errors. Neither Posetti nor Cameron had ever mentioned defamation, the headline, which said Posetti had alerted listeners to a Twitter "danger" was unfounded and the apology itself misleadingly mashed together the incorrectly attributed quotes.