Crikey agrees to destroy copies of leaked News Corp financial statements

CrikeyIndependent news website Crikey has agreed to take down and destroy all electronic and hard copy versions of leaked confidential News Corp financial documents, which showed the Australian newspaper division of the publisher dropped $320m in ad revenues and cut one in eight jobs in the 2012-13 financial year.

Crikey this evening announced that it had reached a legal agreement with News Corp with a statement on its website saying: “Crikey owner Private Media and News Corp have reached a legal agreement that prevents Crikey from hosting or further distributing the News Corporation Australia Weekly Operating Statement for the week ended June 30, 2013.”

“As part of the agreement, Private Media has promised to destroy by 5pm today any hard and electronic copies in its possession.”

The move comes after Fairfax and Crikey reported that the publisher had told rival media organisations it would take “appropriate action” against anyone publishing the leaked internal document.

In the statement, Crikey also noted: “we are not required to pull down the stories based on the documents we have already published. We are also not bound by any confidentiality agreement. As part of the contract signed by both parties, Private Media cannot be sued over publication of the confidential documents.

“The agreement is not a legal injunction. It does not prevent others from publishing stories based on the documents.”

Asked for comment on the decision by Private Media to remove and destroy the documents, the publisher of Crikey, Marina Go said the decision had been taken following discussions with News Corp but that news website remained proud of the story.

“Following discussions with News Corporation’s lawyers the News Corporation Australia Weekly Operating Statement for the week ended 30 June 2013 no longer appears on the Crikey website,” said Go.

“We remain proud of our ‘story behind the story’ brand of independent journalism and you will find all of the stories that we have published about this on the Crikey website.”

News Corp declined to comment on the agreement but it understood the decision to remove and destroy the documents will ensure that no legal action is taken against Private Media.

News Corp title The Australian published a PDF of the internal salaries of ABC staffers in 2013 and an internal Bain & Company report for Fairfax Media in 2014.

Nic Christensen


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