Erin Molan wins her defamation suit and is awarded $150,000

2DayFM’s Erin Molan has been awarded $150,000 after winning a defamation suit against Daily Mail Australia.

Molan sued over an article and two tweets that accused her of appearing to mock Polynesian names in a radio broadcast on 2GB in 2020.

Molan told the federal court last year she did not think she was mocking Polynesian names when she said “hooka looka mooka hooka fooka”

In handing down his findings, Justice Robert Bromwich said “ needs to substantially improve the care that it takes, or face further and greater awards of damages. Freedom of expression must be balanced with responsibility and basic professionalism which was sadly lacking in this case.”

He said each side had a “…measure of success and a measure of failure”, finding that five of the eight imputations Molan alleged were wrongly conveyed by the Daily Mail, including that she “deliberately mocked the names of Pacific Islanders on air” and that her “inability to pronounce the names of Polynesian NRL players is so disrespectful and incompetent that she is unfit to be an NRL commentator”.

In evidence Molan had told the court that “…it was a running joke on the show to attempt to do accents from all over the world.”

The Justice found that the content was “ignorant or thoughtless” but concluded that she was trying to put on “…on an accent of Ray Warren as though it was him who was saying ‘hooka, looka, mooka, hooka, fooka’, rather than putting on a Polynesian or Pacific Islander accent” but that the “… most serious pleaded imputation”, that Molan is a racist, was not conveyed.

He told the Daily Mail that they had gone too far and were not careful enough, and “…made a number of material and defamatory errors which were not able to be justified, but did not go as far as Ms Molan’s case and arguments depict.”

While the news website argued a truth defence and denied running an illegitimate campaign against her, Bromwhich found that had not established any basis for the application of the defence of honest opinion, and ordered that the article be taken down.

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