As reported by The Australian the Australian’s editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell is preparing to sue Canberra based academic Julie Posetti for tweeting what he describes as false allegations about his editorial practices, which were published yesterday from a journalism conference at the University of Technology in Sydney.
Posetti allegedly quoted a former reporter Asa Wahlquist as stating that Mitchell as saying “in the lead up to the election the Ed in Chief was increasingly telling me what to write. It was prescriptive.” Posetti’s tweets include her quoting Wahlquist as stating “reporting on climate change for The Australian was “absolutely excruciating. It was torture“.
Mitchell strenuously denies the truth of the allegation, whilst Wahlqhist has stated she has never spoken to Mitchell about the subject of climate change.
Wahlquist, now a freelance journalist, who was speaking at the journalism education conference, states that she has been taken out of context and misquoted by Posetti.
There isn’t any audio recording of what was said at the conference.
However reports from Crikey describe Wahlquist as follows “a former Senior News Limited journalist has described trying to write about human-induced climate change at the Australian newspaper as torture and has blamed the editor-in-chief for limiting coverage on the topic because he has taken a political view”
Twitter defamation suits have been successfully brought in the Courts, most recently in the case of Cairns v Modi, although if Mitchell does sue this will be the first Twitter defamation case in Australia.