In one corner was a mining entrepreneur, crusader against slavery, campaigner for Indigenous jobs and a church-going Christian. In the other was a reporter with an interest in mining leases and hypocrisy who had taught English in one of Africa’s poorest nations.
The legal fight, between Fortescue Metals Group founder Andrew Forrest and Reuters Australian bureau deputy chief Jonathon Barrett, ended late last month when one of most famous and trusted brands in media decided to back down.
The case pitted Mr Forrest’s integrity against Reuters’ accuracy. The dispute began last May when Barrett claimed in an article that Forrest used laws designed to protect the land rights of Aborigines to stop mining companies accessing one of his cattle stations in remote Western Australia.
When a couple of mining prospectors pegged out an area on one of Forrest’s properties that they planned to dig up, Forrest successfully argued in court they hadn’t obtained a necessary permit from a local Aboriginal group, according to the article.
Barrett also quoted a leader of the group criticising Forrest for allegedly using a lot of water at his main, separate cattle station of Minderoo.
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