This is the eighth 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.


Defamation laws in Australia are set to be overhauled following a campaign by NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman. Canberra Times and the Wall Street Journal [£] considers the proposed updates which would provide for:

– A singe publication rule in each jurisdiction’ limitation laws

– A serious harm threshold for claims

– Changes to the concerns notice and offer to make amends procedure

– Clarifying provisions around the operation of the cap on non-economic damages

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released draft version of the new media bargaining code. The Code contains provisions regarding the sharing of advertising revenues of digital media companies with their traditional media counterparts. Aljazeera reports. Written submissions are due by 5pm 28 August 2020 to

ABC Network has been highlighted by Sky News’ Paul Murray as being a potential “king maker of Australian media” despite industry wide economic difficulties.

A cartoon of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the Australian by journalist Johannes Leak has been criticised and alleged by some as racist, the Guardian reports. The response of the Australian’s Editor-in-Chief in support of Leak is also covered.


Further details of Canada’s Media Fund Emergency Relief Funding have been released by Cassels, including updates from the Canada Media Fund on the $88.8m which has been allocated to it by the Canadian government.

Hong Kong

Media tycoon Jimmy Lai has been arrested following allegations of foreign collusion under new national security laws. Sky News, CNBC and The Guardian have coverage.  A new Chinese national security law has resulted in the arrest of many Hong Kong journalists, the Los Angeles Times reports.

New Zealand

Channel News Asia has profiled media owner Sinead Boucher, owner of media company Stuff Ltd.


Radio Free Europe has considered Pakistan’s restrictions of free speech rights, using Pakistan’s telecommunications regulator’s recent final warning to Tik Tok over explicit content and suggested ban as damaging to free speech.

In the Courts


Balzola v Passas [2020] NSWSC 896, a case in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. A case concerning alleged defamatory statements made at the AGM of the Summer Hill Electoral Conference of the New South Wales branch of the Liberal Party.

Hayson v The Age Company Pty Ltd (No 3) [2020] FCA 1163 (14 August 2020), cost applications concerning a defmation case. It was considered that neither party had made good a claim for indemnity costs.

Roberts-Smith v Fairfax Media Publications Pty Limited (No 5) [2020] FCA 1067, interlocutory applications in a trio of defamation cases. The case concerned an application to amend the defences in the case and an application for an extension of time. An application for suppression orders was made.


Ontario Inc v. Moore, 2020 ONSC 4553, a case concerning a online review of a plumbing store which was dismissed due to failure to plead the facts of the case sufficiently.   


Bainimarama v Ravindra-Singh [2020] FJHC 563; HBC059.2018 (24 July 2020) a defamation case concerning a facebook posted made by the defendant. As judgement was handed down against the defendant and the case concerned his attempt to have the judgment vacated. The plantiffs were awarded $60,000.00 each.

Hong Kong

XU YING v. XU WEIHONG [2020] HKCFI 1955; HCA 2650/2017 (7 August 2020), as defamation case concerning an allegation that the defendant defamed the plaintiff by stating that they published details of a confidential agreement. It was found that the Hong Kong court was not an appropriate forum for the claim.

New Zealand

Craig v Slater [2020] NZCA 305, a defamation action brought by a former leader of the Conservative Party. The case concerned allegations that the former leader, Mr Craig had sexually harassed the then Press Secretary, financially pressured her to sleep with him and had sexually harassed her and at least one other victim. These allegations were published by Mr Slater. When Mr Craig released a pamphlet stating that the allegations were lies, this drew a counterclaim from Mr Slater. At first instance Mr Slater was found liable for defamation on two grounds, a matter which was later appealed on seven issues.

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