Audio backs tweets in editor’s defamation row – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Audio of last week’s conference at the centre of a defamation row involving The Australian and a Twitter user proves that much of the information tweeted was actually said.
The audio, obtained by the ABC, captures former Australian newspaper journalist Asa Wahlquist speaking about the trials of reporting on climate change while working at the News Limited-owned paper.
Her comments, in which she describes her experience at The Australian as “excruciating”, were retweeted by journalism academic Julie Posetti.
The Australian’s editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell has denied the allegations and threatened to sue Ms Posetti for defamation, saying that he believes new media should not be exempt from the “normal laws of the land”.
In the audio, recorded by freelance journalism researcher Jolyon Sykes at the journalism conference in Sydney, Wahlquist can be heard saying that she had worked at The Australian for 14 years as a rural journalist.
“Climate change, of course, was a part of what I covered. It was absolutely excruciating. It was torture. There’s no other way to put it,” she said.
This comment seems to match a tweet made by Ms Posetti which read: “‘It was absolutely excruciating. It was torture’: Asa Wahlquist on fleeing The Australian after being stymied in covering #climate”.
In the audio, Wahlquist then went on to describe Mitchell as taking a “political view” on climate change.
“It took me quite a while to realise that my editor at The Australian, editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell, was taking a political view and he goes down the eco fascist line,” she said.
“He sees climate change as being a political movement that the left has now adopted that will, aims to destroy everything that he loves and values.”
She went on to say that it was “really debilitating”.