David Richardson (Australian journalist)

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David Richardson is an Australian journalist who works for the Seven Network. He gained notoriety as a reporter for the Seven Network's Today Tonight programme, where his dubious journalistic ethics led the ABC's Media Watch programme to call him "Australia's worst serial offender" journalist.[1]

Early career[edit]

Notable reports[edit]

Skase controversy[edit]

Richardson was sent to Majorca by Today Tonight to pursue then-fugitive Christopher Skase. Richardson accosted Skase in his usual manner, but Skase did not engage with him; instead Skase opted to walk away from camera. Richardson alleged that because the Today Tonight crew's videos showed that Skase was in good health, Skase used his connections to the Majorcan government to establish police roadblocks to seize the Today Tonight crew's videotapes. The only support for these claims was a video of Richardson driving past police, exclaiming "Roadblocks! Let's get out of here". Media Watch proved, through examining the broadcast report, that this footage was shot in Barcelona, Spain, not on the island of Majorca as was claimed. The "police" Richardson was passing were in fact Spanish urban guards, who use roadblocks to control traffic flow in central Barcelona. Following Media Watch's exposé, the Seven Network suspended both Richardson and the story's producer, Chris Adams, for one month without pay.[2][3]

A few months later, these events were satirised in the "One Rule for One" episode of Frontline. Fictional current affairs reporter Martin di Stasio was sent to Spain to do an exposé on Christopher Skase but when Skase would not talk, di Stasio created a misleading report and ended up being suspended from Frontline for a month.

The "Serial Single Mum"[edit]

On 18 July 2005, Today Tonight screened a report by Richardson about "Australia's serial single Mum". The report asserted that a single mother, Mary-Anne, "had five children to five different men and pocketed tens of thousands in welfare".[4] Media Watch described the exchange between Richardson and Mary-Anne as an "appalling attack",[5] and "another offensive beat up from Dave 'Sluggo' Richardson".[4]

Defamation case[edit]

In July 2009 the Seven Network was ordered to pay mortgage broker Peter Mahommed $240,000 after a 2004 Today Tonight report by Richardson falsely portrayed him as having 'fleeced' a dementia patient of $1 million.

The case, heard by the New South Wales Supreme Court, saw Channel Seven punished for conveying 12 defamatory statements about Mr Mahommed, damaging what the judge described as Mr Mahommed's previous excellent reputation.

Because of the Today Tonight story, Mr Mahommed could not continue to work in the area, moved house, grew a beard and wore a baseball cap so people would not recognise him.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/images/sluggo.gif
  2. ^ Oliver, Robin (22 December 1996). "2 suspended over Skase program". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 7. 
  3. ^ A video of Media Watch's original report about Richardson's Skase story
  4. ^ a b "Sluggo takes the high moral ground, darling". Media Watch. 25 July 2005. Retrieved 2007-01-12. 
  5. ^ "The Sluggo Files". Media Watch. Retrieved 2007-01-12. 
  6. ^ "Defamed broker wins damages from Seven". Melbourne Age. 9 July 2009. 

External links[edit]