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Media publishers and broadcasters receive legal threats every day of the year. They are regularly threatened with defamation actions and are sued often. They face contempt of court allegations, injunction applications, attacks on journalists and their sources, requests to remove or edit content, and even threats to their safety.
Macpherson Kelley is the firm the media comes to when they face a crisis. We have one of the largest and most experienced dedicated media teams in Australia. We understand journalists and their editors often need urgent advice to deal with the immediate problems and looming news publication deadlines. We are known for providing quality legal advice and high calibre strategic thinking to deal with those issues, particularly on short notice.
Our lawyers are available 24/7 for urgent prepublication queries. Our advice has the potential to shape the content of news published and consumed by millions of Australians daily.
When a raft of Australian journalists and media organisations were charged with contempt of court over reporting when Cardinal George Pell was found guilty of child sex offences, they called on Macpherson Kelley. The number of individuals and organisations charged was unprecedented. It’s an example when the media face a crisis, which could include personal convictions for individuals, they come to Macpherson Kelley for help.
The ‘Lawyer X’ scandal is one of the greatest legal and political scandals in Victorian history. When the Herald Sun newspaper broke the story of a prominent Victorian barrister who acted as a police informer, it was immediately hit with an injunction application. Macpherson Kelley successfully resisted the application and then for the next five years acted for the Herald Sun in its ongoing reporting of the matter, sparring with Victoria Police in court over what could be reported. We ran proceedings in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court ultimately bringing the entire scandal to light. The outcry resulted in a Royal Commission into the management of police informants, where we continue to act on behalf of the media.
The Teacher’s Pet podcast is the most downloaded podcast in Australia and topped the charts in the UK and US. It examined a prominent cold case murder in New South Wales in which Sydney man Christopher Dawson was suspected of murdering his wife, Lynette Dawson. Our team has provided all legal advice on the podcast since its inception. This included early work to formulate the structure of the podcast and navigate the risks of defamation, contempt of Court and other legal risks. Mr Dawson has since been charged with murder.