Three executives of Independent Newspapers who were named by Noseweek in its July issue in a report headlined “Independent News bosses struck a secret deal with Auction Alliance”, have served summons on the magazine's publisher and its editor Martin Welz.
The three – CEO Anthony Howard, Cape editor-in-chief Christopher Whitfield and group managing editor Moegsien Williams, allege they were defamed by the article are and are claiming R350 000 each as compensation for the damage they allege they have suffered as a result.
Said Noseweek editor Welz: “I was not taken by surprise by the summons – I had been forwarned by the Argus in its weekend edition – but I am surprised that news media that have a forum of their own to fight their battles – the columns of their newspapers – still have need to resort to the courts. Noseweek's story was read by perhaps a few tens of thousands of people, whereas the Independent Newspapers' executives subsequent denials, expressions of outrage and insults directed at noseweek were published by all their newspapers – plus some – nationally, reaching millions of readers.
“In a perverse way it's a compliment that they are nevertheless still suing us: it suggests a recognition that we enjoy a level of credibility that exceeds their own, despite all the denials and outrage.
“In our current issue we have gone to some lengths to spell out our position on the story and dispell any misunderstandings. We stand by our story and will, if needs be, defend this action in the same way we have defended others in the past – with a certain measure of success.”
The complete summons can be seen by clicking HERE.
The complete record of the interdict case brought by Auction Alliance against Independent Newspapers, and the settlement agreement they concluded binding them to secrecy on various matters can be found on the Noseweek website, at the foot of the story in nose 153.
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