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 Media
The Australian government has requested the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to develop a code regulating the relationship between media companies and digital platforms such as Facebook and Google. The key provision is that digital outlets pay Australian news outlets 10% of advertising revenues from news content. These sums have been estimated to amount to USD $400m per year. Onezero highlights the policy behind this increase in funding.
An Australian resident has lodged a $350,000 defamation claim regarding comments made in a Slack Group chat. Patrick Finnegan alleges that he was unfairly made out to have committed fraud, the Guardian reports.
Michael Geist considers why tackling digital media regulation will not solve inherent problems in the Canadian media ecosystem. Geist also analyses digital policy concerns in the midst of the pandemic.
French authorities have passed laws which obligate social media companies to remove content deemed hateful within 24 hours of a request [£]. Failure to do so may result in fines of up to 4% of global revenue.
The Data Protection Report has reviewed how to process employee health data in France amidst the pandemic.
Germany’s federal states have approved the implementation of an Interstate Media Treaty which extends regulations to social media platforms, search engines and video portals, widening the remit of the previously established Broadcast Treaty.
The New Zealand government has announced it will allocate NZ$50m to support media businesses which are struggling due to coronavirus.
NZME has offered to buy rival Stuff for NZ$1.00. The media giant, which is New Zealand’s biggest media company, previously attempted to by Stuff in 2017. The move was rejected by the NZ Commerce Commission.
In the Courts
Dent v Burke  ACTCA 22, in the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory. This defamation case concerned the broadcast of a television interview by the respondent. The respondent referred to allegations of misconduct against him by the appellant. It was considered whether the judge had erred in concluding defamatory imputations of the appellant were not conveyed by the publication. It was held that there was no appealable error in the judge’s decision.
Aldridge v Johnston  SASCFC 31, in the Supreme Court of South Australia. An appeal considering liability, quantum, the right to a fair trial and defences to a case for defamation. This involved the publication of defamatory statements on a Facebook page. The appeal on liability and quantum was dismissed.
Defteros v Google LLC  VSC 219, a successful claim against Google as the publisher of material made available in search results. Damages of $40,000 were awarded. There were reports in the Guardian, the Sydney Morning Herald and on the ABC website.
Webster v Brewer  FCA 622. Wheelahan J granted an interim injunction to restrain the publication of defamatory material on Facebook by a defendant resident in New Zealand.
Hudson v Myong 2020 BCSC 517, a defamation case concerning an alleged Facebook smear campaign. A permanent injunction was granted to the plaintiffs.
This Round up was complied by Suneet Sharma a junior legal professional with a particular interest and experience in media, information and privacy law.