Home Written work Australian law chief wants defamation rules set in internet age – letter

Australian law chief wants defamation rules set in internet age – letter

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CNN’s main Facebook page displays an error message when viewed from Australia, as shown in this screenshot taken on September 29, 2021. Social media website / via REUTERS

SYDNEY, Oct. 7 (Reuters) – Australia’s top legal scholar has written to her state counterparts urging them to reformulate the country’s defamation law after a High Court ruling that editors of media posts Social media are responsible for reader comments that sent shock waves through the media industry.

Last month’s ruling, in an ongoing libel lawsuit against three newspaper publishers, added a sense of urgency to an existing prosecutorial review of Internet forum hosts’ liability in defamation complaints. Federal General Michaelia Cash and her eight state and territorial counterparts.

Since then, media giant CNN, which is owned by AT&T Inc (TN) has blocked Australians from its Facebook pages, while the Australian branch of British newspaper The Guardian said it has disabled comments under most articles posted on the platform. Elected leaders from two states and territories disabled their comments on Facebook, citing the decision.

“I have received considerable feedback from stakeholders regarding the potential implications of the High Court ruling,” Cash wrote in the letter, which was reviewed by Reuters.

“Although I refrain from commenting on the merits of the court’s decision, it is clear from the reactions of stakeholders … that our work to ensure that defamation law is fit for purpose in the era. digital remains essential. “

The review would “take a closer look at the appropriate protections for individuals and organizations with social media accounts, including with respect to defamatory content posted by third parties,” Cash wrote, adding that she “Would support the reform of the law on defamation which remains on the agenda …”.

The review, which lasted until 2021, posted 36 submissions on its website, including from Facebook which says it should not be held responsible for defamatory comments because it has relatively little ability to monitor and remove content posted under publishers pages.

Reporting by Byron Kaye and Colin Packham; Editing by Lincoln Feast.

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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