Chris Kenny was won a legal victory against their ABC:
NINE months after broadcasting an offensive skit featuring The Australian’s columnist Chris Kenny by The Chaser team, the ABC will tonight issue a comprehensive on-air apology as part of a formal defamation settlement that includes paying all legal costs and some damages. Despite the ABC and The Chaser team vowing to contest the matter in court, backed by an internal review that found the skit met editorial standards for satire, the apology will tonight be broadcast on ABC1 at about 9pm, before the Jonah From Tonga show.
Kenny said he decided to sue the ABC, production company Giant Dwarf and its presenter Andrew Hansen for defamation because of the offensive nature of the skit, and its subsequent damage to his reputation, but also because he considered it an attempt to silence him.
“I was singled out because I’ve been a critic of the ABC and it was an attempt to silence me,’’ he said.
“People have suggested to me it’s anti-free speech to launch a defamation action, well I think it’s quite the opposite in this case. I was singled out because I dared to criticise the ABC and it (the skit) was an attempt to intimidate people out of criticising the ABC.”
Responding to criticism that journalists should not pursue law suits and commentary that satire should be exempt from defamation, Kenny said he did not “take legal action lightly but in the end you have to draw a line”.
“They can mock me, they can tease me, they can find examples to ridicule me with all they like but somewhere there has to be a line,’’ he said.
“I accept that the line is grey, but I think this case was so obviously beyond the pale that nobody would disagree.”
This whole incident reflects very poorly on the ABC – from the initial decision to broadcast the material, to the decision to brazen out any criticism, then the attempt to monster Chris Kenny into dropping the action in the last fortnight.