Fairfax pays up big to settle Jennings defamation

Stuff reports:

Media has settled a case brought by against the company and its former reporter, Michael Field, regarding an article published in March 2015 on www.stuff.co.nz, and in a number of regional Fairfax newspapers, about Mr Jennings and his businesses.

Fairfax Media’s management, its editors and Mr Field apologise unreservedly to Mr Jennings for the article. We accept that the article and the statements about Mr Jennings and his businesses within it were entirely without merit; Mr Field did not contact Mr Jennings for his comment; and the article failed to meet Fairfax’s high expectations in relation to its own editorial standards and journalistic ethics.

The amount of the settlement, which included an offer by Fairfax to repeat its apology in open court, is substantial. Mr Jennings has confirmed he is donating the net settlement to charities focused on Taranaki, his home province, and sub-Saharan Africa, where his businesses operate.

I’ve read a lot of settlement statements over the years and this one represents an absolute reaming. The key statements are:

We accept that the article and the statements about Mr Jennings and his businesses within it were entirely without merit

Can’t get much harsher than that. But the real zinger is:

The amount of the settlement, which included an offer by Fairfax to repeat its apology in open court, is substantial.

Normally a settlement is done to hide the amount being paid. For the agreed statement to reveal it is substantial, shows Fairfax was on a hiding to nothing and knew they would lose massively in court.

Comments (24)

Login to comment or vote