The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog

Monthly International Round Up – Suneet Sharma

This is the second instalment in a regular new series from Inforrm highlighting press and case reports of new media and information cases from around the world.  It is intended to complement our United States: Monthly Round Up posts.  Please let us know if there are other cases and jurisdictions which we should be covering.

In the Media


Balkan insight has covered the recent probe into Albanian media laws by the Venice Commission.

The Albanian President has vetoed laws that form part of a “anti-defamation package”- those on audiovisual media and electronic communication. VOA News considers the Parliament’s likely overruling of this veto and the implications of the new powers it will grant the Audio-visual Media Authority.


Algeria is set to outlaw hate speech on social media, SBS comments.  


There has been considerable media discussion concerning the coverage of bushfires, with The Australian being criticised for spreading misinformation by not adequately covering the issue. An employee of NewCorp branded the companies coverage as “irresponsible”, the BBC reports. The New York Times [£] and Aljazeera unpick the “narrative” behind the coverage from the Murdoch media outlets. Issues arise around allegations of politicisation and lack of attribution to climate change. The Brisbane Times explored the coverage’s propensity to exhibit climate change denial.

Independent Australia considers that “the mainstream media’s pro-U.S. and Western bias distorts the truth”.


Protests have been mounting in Brazil following investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald’s leaked phone messages allegedly showing collusion between prosecutors and a judge in anti corruption investigations. The journalist has been charged with cybercrime, the Guardian reports.


The Guardian considers the Canadian media’s regard for privacy, using the recent example of coverage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The BBC explored the application of privacy rights to the couple in Canada, after the couple issued a legal warning following photographs of Meghan were published by outlets.

Media in Canada published an article analysing how Canadian news agencies can thrive in the current media climate.

The extradition hearing of Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou continues, with a Canadian court denying to broadcast a section of the hearing. The media consortium which made the application sought to record and broadcast the hearing’s submissions on “double criminality”, the requirement that the conduct at issue must be illegal in Canada as well as the country seeking extradition.


The New York Times [£} criticises the Chinese media’s coverage of the coronavirus, suggesting it silenced critics. Bloomberg considers the widespread reaction to the virus on social media whereas Futurism highlights censorship.

The Straits Times considers the state of Chinese media coverage, positing coverage is more transparent but restrained.


The Guardian has examined the current state of Egyptian controls on political activity and freedom of speech, highlighting concerns that it is overly prohibitive.


Italian regulators have threatened to fine Facebook after the social media group failed to respond to a request to provide users with details of how their personal information is used.

New Zealand

Stuff considers the state of the New Zealand media landscape.


SciTechDaily has an interesting article considering how Russia may have exerted influence via social media in its takeover of Crimea.

In the Courts


Brown v Kirkpatrick [2020] SASC 5, the Supreme Court of South Australia heard a defamation appeal and awarded AUS$3,500 to the plaintiff.

Roberts-Smith v Fairfax Media Publications Pty Limited (No 3) [2020] FCA 2, three interlocutory applications filed in three defamation cases. The respondents claim journalistic privilege under s.126k of the Evidence Act 1995.

South Africa

Gqubule-Mbeki and Another v Economic Freedom Fighters and Another (30143/2018) [2020] ZAGPJHC 2 (24 January 2020), an application for defamatory relief following statements made to the Huffington post by Madikizela-Mandela idenfiying the claimants, two journalists, as individuals who worked with SratCom to spread disinformation.

 Impilo Yabantu Services (Pty) Ltd v Tshokotshi (EL878/2016) [2020] ZAECELLC 1 (14 January 2020), a case concerning alleged defamatory allegations made in an affidavit.

This Round up was complied by Suneet Sharma a junior legal professional with a particular interest and experience in media, information and privacy law.

1 Comment

  1. Professor R I Wacks

    Breyer v Germany

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