Australian legal director hopes to develop defamation rules for the digital age

After the court found that the news media was responsible for defamatory comments on its social media posts, the attorney general pushed for reforms.

After the Australian High Court ruled that the publisher of social media posts was responsible for readers’ comments, Australia’s top legal official urged her state counterpart to redraft the country’s defamation law.

According to a Reuters report on Thursday, the Federal Attorney General Michaelia Cash filed an appeal in a letter to her state counterpart.

The appeal was filed after the High Court’s decision last month, which stated that the Australian news media was responsible for defamatory comments made by readers on their social media posts.

The ruling caused a sensation in the industry.

AT&T’s media giant CNN has now Blocked Australians from its Facebook page, and the Australian branch of the British newspaper The Guardian stated that it has disabled comments under most articles posted on the platform.

Elected leaders of two states and territories have also turned off their Facebook comments.

The ruling adds to the urgency of Cash’s review of the responsibility of Internet forum hosts in defamation complaints.

She is reviewing with her colleagues in eight states and territories.

“I have received a lot of feedback from stakeholders on the potential impact of the High Court’s decision,” Cash wrote in her letter.

“Although I don’t comment on the value of the court’s decision, the stakeholder’s response is clear… Our work to ensure that the defamation law applies in the digital age remains crucial.”

Cash writes that the review will lead to “more careful consideration of appropriate protections for individuals and organizations with social media accounts, including protections related to defamatory material posted by third parties.”

She added that she would “support the reform of the defamation law that remains on the… agenda”.

This review has been conducted throughout 2021 and 36 submissions have been published on its website. It will also review whether Facebook is responsible for defamatory posts by users.

The social media giant argued in the documents submitted for review that it should not be held liable because its ability to monitor and delete content posted under publisher pages is relatively weak.

Facebook did not participate in court cases involving defamation of user comments.

The case is ongoing and involves Fairfax media publications, national news and Australian news channels.

Former juvenile detainee Dylan Voller sued the three media companies for posting allegedly defamatory comments on the Facebook pages of newspapers and TV shows.

Waller once said that after publishing stories about him on the news company’s Facebook page, some third-party users made defamatory comments.

He claimed that the news media are responsible as publishers.

The High Court agreed.

“The organization’s conduct [media companies] In the process of facilitating, encouraging, and thereby assisting third-party Facebook users to post comments, they become the publishers of those comments,” Judge Rothman discovered last month.

The case will now be returned to the Supreme Court of New South Wales to determine whether any comments slandered Waller.

According to the High Court’s ruling, News Corp Australia, which owns two radio programs and two of the three newspapers in the defamation case, called for changes to Australia’s defamation laws.



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