Peter van Onselen to dispute breach of contract legal action by Network 10

Broadcaster and academic Peter van Onselen will dispute Network 10’s legal claim he breached his contract when penning a critical opinion piece about his former employer, Mumbrella understands.

The Australian reports the network will front the New South Wales Supreme Court today to seek an injunction against van Onselen on the grounds of a non-disparagement clause.

Network 10 is heading to court over Peter van Onselen’s opinion piece.

Justice David Hammerschlag is scheduled to hear the case, according to the newspaper.

The legal stoush stems from a piece van Onselen wrote in The Australian last Monday saying he had “reason to doubt” the company’s “long-term viability” based on its falling share price and low ratings.

“You could choose to be a little more upbeat about [US parent company] Paramount and Network 10’s future if the streaming part of the business was firing, but it’s not,” he wrote.

Paramount bought Network 10 in 2017 following the network entering voluntary administration.

“Since that time the network’s ratings have slowly ebbed lower and lower, elongating the divide between it and its more successful commercial rivals in Australia,” van Onselen wrote, blaming “brand and management”.

The broadside from the network’s former political editor and regular The Project panellist seemed to catch 10 off-guard, which said in a later statement it was “disappointed”.

It now reportedly believes the op-ed breaches van Onselen’s employment contract – a claim it’s understood he will dispute.

Mumbrella understands van Onselen rejects he breached the deed and will argue a deed cannot be interpreted to constrain him ever speaking about his former employer, publicly or privately, for life.

The information contained in the op-ed was publicly available and not related to material sourced from the period of his employment, Mumbrella understands he will argue.

Network 10 declined to comment.



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