This is the fifth 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 Papers
Communications minister Paul Fletcher has announced that quotas for Australian drama, children and documentary content would be suspended for 2020. An investment of $50m in local journalism was announced as well as a 12 month waiver of spectrum tax for commercial television and radio broadcasters. The Guardian reports and also covers the impact of the coronavirus on regional news outlets, many of which have stopped printing.
News Corp, Australia’s biggest media company announced at the end of March that it would suspend print of sixty Australian titles due to coronavirus, the Financial Times reports [£].
The New York Times [£] has a piece on effectiveness of Chinese propaganda amidst the escalating media storm around the issues of coronavirus and combative relations with the United States.
Newsweek has also critiqued the Chinese government’s approach to press regulation, saying thousands of lives could have been saved if the regime had permitted reporting about the coronavirus to continue unfettered. Heritage has considered how Western media outlets have been impacted by Chinese propaganda.
Google’s advertising practices have been criticised by the French regulator which has ordered the internet giant to pay media groups of displaying their content. There was an Inforrm post.
India’s STX Entertainment has merged with Eros International creating the Eros STX Global Corporation. The new publically traded media company will have offerings across film, TV and streaming.
The New York Times [£] has published a critical article of press freedom in India under the Modi government.
United Arab Emirates
The UAE announced that it will fine individuals up to 20,000 dirhams if they share medical information which contradicts official statements, a move to tackle misinformation spreading about coronavirus- Reuters reports.
In the Courts
Darwin v Norman  NSWSC 357, Fagan J awarded two men who were part of a commune AUS$200,000 damages for libel against a blogger. She had accused them of fraud and deception
Hudson v Myong 2020 BCSC 517, a case in the Supreme Court of British Columbia which considers the propensity of the internet being used to harm reputations. The case arose out of a number of allegedly defamatory messages sent be the defendants over Facebook Messenger.
Lu v Shen 2020 BCSC 490, a case in the Supreme Court of British Columbia which concerned claims of defamation, breach of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress- “the product of a verbal war the two women have waged against one another for over a decade”.
Stringer v Craig  NZHC 644, a libel claim brought by a former Conservative Party member against the former leader of the party and a number of those involved in the publication of a booklet accusing him of being engaged in dirty politics. The defence of qualified privilege, based on “reply to attack” was successful and the claim was dismissed.
Peters v Bennett  NZHC 761, a privacy claim concerning the disclosure of an irregularity in supperannuation payments to the media. The plaintiff had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the information and its disclosure of highly offensive but the claim failed as he could not establish that any of the defendants were responsible for the disclosure.
Nottingham v Maltese Cat Limited  NZSC 36,a defamation claim in the New Zealand Supreme Court. This concerned the publication of alleged defamatory statements on a website with an appeal filed on the basis that the claim was time barred and explored the application of the multiple publication rule.
This Round up was complied by Suneet Sharma a junior legal professional with a particular interest and experience in media, information and privacy law.