The Wagner family already won a hefty libel payout from two Australian radio stations and broadcaster Alan Jones. Now, they have won a similar suit against Australia’s Nine Network over its 60 Minutes report suggesting their family was responsible for flooding deaths in 2011.
60 Minutes must pay $3.6 million Australian (about $2.5 million U.S.) to the Wagners, the Australian Associated Press reported.
When issuing the libel damages, Justice Peter Applegarth said “The Nine Network had information that contradicted the allegations contained in the program but did not broadcast it.”
A Nine spokesperson told iMediaEthics: “Nine will review the judgment and consider it’s position.”
The family sued over the 60 Minutes report, arguing their quarry wall collapse triggered the floods that led to 12 deaths. “The report does not expressly blame them for the deaths but the family believes it led people to believe they caused the disaster, sought to cover it up and refused to answer to the public,” the Guardian reported. In early September, the family won the lawsuit.
As iMediaEthics previously reported, the Wagners, which the Australian Financial Review said is “one of Australia’s richest families,” last year won a libel lawsuit and about $3 million U.S. from radio stations 2GB and 4BC as well as broadcaster Jones for his comments suggesting they were responsible for flooding deaths.