Seven threatened to sue over 'trashy' TV show claim

The Seven Network has threatened to sue New Matilda after an article about Today Tonight Adelaide drew the ire of the station's legal boffins.

In a strongly-worded letter to New Matilda editor Chris Graham, Seven's lawyers have said an article published in February contained a "number of serious allegations" that were "entirely without foundation".

"They are defamatory of Mr [David] Richardson and Ms [Rosanna] Mangiarelli and constitute a malicious falsehood in relation to Channel Seven Adelaide Pty Ltd," the letter reads. "They are published without regard to the facts and with no proper enquiry made to our clients as to their fairness or accuracy."

The article in question criticised a Today Tonight Story that featured Muslims speaking out against radical extremists who reportedly wish to create a Muslim state within Australia.

According to Seven, the segment dealt with an issue of significant public interest and complied with professional and broadcast standards.

"Far from being anti-Muslim, the segment is aimed at ring-fencing the view of extreme elements and ensuring they can be seen for what they are," Seven's legal letter reads. "Separating extreme views from the mainstream Muslim community ... promotes broader public acceptance and understanding of Muslims and Islam."

Seven's lawyers want New Matilda to remove the article in question as well as for an apology to be published on the website's homepage.

In a fiery response, Graham said it was impossible to defame Today Tonight because it isn't a person with a reputation. He also defended the article on the basis of truth as well as opinion.

Speaking to Fairfax Media, Graham said he hasn't heard back from Seven but would welcome the opportunity to defend the story in court.

"If Today Tonight's journalism was put on trial, that would be in the public interest," he said. "If they're happy to have a crack, we're happy to go along with the ride."

The Seven Network has been contacted for comment.

This story Seven threatened to sue over 'trashy' TV show claim first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.