Adam Lang’s defamation case against The Daily Telegraph resolved at mediation

The defamation case brought against The Daily Telegraph by Macquarie Media’s former CEO Adam Lang has been successfully resolved at mediation.

Lang left Macquarie Media in late October, just weeks before Nine completed its takeover of the radio business. A month earlier, in September, Lang commenced defamation proceedings against The Daily Telegraph – and its editor-at-large, Matthew Benns – for an article on the departure of 2GB talkback host Chris Smith, which allegedly implied Lang is a “sadistic executive” and dubbed him “the smiling assassin”.

Lang alleged The Daily Telegraph and its journalist defamed him

Smith finished up with 2GB in July after his relationship with Macquarie broke down, only to be re-hired this week under new owner Nine and new radio boss Tom Malone. Smith formerly hosted the afternoons slot, but will become 2GB and 4BC’s weekend presenter under his new employment deal.

Benns claimed back in July that Lang’s relationships with Smith and fellow talkback host Alan Jones degraded, quoting insiders who said Jones has “lost all respect” for Lang and their relationship is “toxic”. The article claimed Lang was “instrumental” in trying to stop 2GB from re-signing Jones, who renewed his contract in July.

In court documents, Lang said the article implied: he is incompetent in his management of 2GB, his management bungles have cost Macquarie Media millions, he is a sadistic executive who takes pleasure from delivering bad news to staff, and he has created a toxic atmosphere in the workplace at 2GB.

Before filing documents in the Federal Court, Lang’s lawyers requested an apology from the newspaper, and asked for the article to be taken down. The Daily Telegraph said it “stands by” the article, which is still live on its website.

In May, The Daily Telegraph was ordered to pay Geoffrey Rush a record $2.87m in defamation damages, Australia’s highest defamation payout to a single person. The newspaper’s appeal of that decision is still underway.


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