News Corp. Paper Broke Race Laws, Australian Court Rules

6:09 AM PST 09/28/2011 by Georg Szalai
NewsCorp

A judge says a 2009 article that argued fair-skinned Aborigines say they’re black for personal gain likely “offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated.”

NEW YORK - An Australian newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and one of its columnists were found guilty Wednesday of breaching the country's race laws with articles arguing that fair-skinned Aborigines often said they were black for personal gain, Reuters reported.

Murdoch's U.K. newspaper business has been under fire amid a phone hacking scandal.

On Wednesday, a judge ruled that some Aborigines likely felt "offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated" by columnist Andrew Bolt's articles in the conglomerate's Melbourne Herald Sun, according to Reuters. The articles, written in 2009, were headlined "It's so hip to be black" and "White fellas in the black."

A class-action lawsuit was then bought by nine aboriginal applicants. The judge ruled that the articles had breached Australia's Racial Discrimination Act.

The judge told the parties to meet to determine the penalty the judge should hand down.

After the decision, Bolt described the verdict as "a terrible day for free speech in this country," Reuters said.

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