Three public health researchers have filed defamation proceedings against the Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater and the tobacco industry lobbyist Carrick Graham.
The proceedings were filed in the High Court in Auckland by Professor Doug Sellman from the University of Otago, Professor Boyd Swinburn from the University of Auckland and Shane Bradbrook, and relate to a series of blog posts and comments published on the Whale Oil website.
Mr Slater and his site, as well as Mr Graham, were featured in a book by the investigative journalist Nicky Hager, Dirty Politics.
The book revealed Mr Graham was involved in the articles targetting the applicants.
The case focuses on articles with a negative focus on public health experts and advocates, which the three applicants claim is still going on.
Mr Graham said he was surprised by the legal action taken against him.
He said he was reviewing the documents and allegations.
But he said he was surprised that the action had been launched, as there had been a number of interactions with Professor Swinburn over the past few years which were friendly.
He said at no stage were concerns raised with him.