Monthly International Round Up – Suneet Sharma

22 05 2020

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

Australia

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.

Buzzfeed has pulled its news reporting from Australia, the New Daily and Guardian reports.

Belgium

The Belgium Data Protection Authority has reconsidered the criteria for appointing a data protection officer in a useful review of the standards required for compliance with this requirement.

Canada

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.

China

CNN International has considered the impact of the Chinese media on the discussion aroundcoronavirus messaging.

Denmark

Public Technology has analysed how Denmark is generating user buy-in for its contact tracing app.

France

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 French Data Protection Authority has issued guidance on setting up remote working and issued best practice guidelines.

The Data Protection Report has reviewed how to process employee health data in France amidst the pandemic.

Germany

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.

India

The International Press Institute has issued a press release condemning the Indian government for making alleged attempts to stifle press freedom by filing cases against journalists.

Daily Times has covered the presence of increasing financial pressures on Indian media outlets as a result of the coronavirus.

New Zealand

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.

Russia

Russian lawmakers have called for an investigation into western media outlets which doubt its coronavirus death toll reporting, the Guardian reports.

South Africa

News24 posits whether South African media is “doing its job”.

In the Courts

Australia

Dent v Burke [2020] 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 [2020] 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 [2020] 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.

Goldberg v Voigt [2020] NSWDC 174.  Damages for defamation on Facebook assessed in the sum of $35,000.  There was a report of this decision in the Guardian.

Webster v Brewer [2020] FCA 622.  Wheelahan J granted an interim injunction to restrain the publication of defamatory material on Facebook by a defendant resident in New Zealand.

Canada

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.


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