This is the ninth instalment in a regular 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
The draft mandatory news code, which looks to implement a number of financial controls to balance loss of advertising revenue to companies such as Google and Facebook, is causing these companies to block Australians from sharing news. “Assuming this draft code becomes law, we will reluctantly stop allowing publishers and people in Australia from sharing local and international news on Facebook and Instagram,” the managing director of Facebook Australia & New Zealand, Will Easton said in a blog post. The Guardian reports. Reuters provides analysis and commentary from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The Australian Government has released a voluntary Code of Practice to regulate the internet of things.
Bloomberg has covered rising tension between the Australian and the Chinese government with two more journalists leaving the country following stints under consular protection. CNBC provides more context to the events and the Chinese response.
A NSW judge has considered the defamatory potential of the zipper mouth emoji. Zali Borrows is suing Adam Houda for defamation relating to two twitter posts, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. See Burrows v Houda  NSWDC 485.
The Indian Supreme Court is considering guidelines on electronic media such as television channels. This is in the recent case of the blocking of Sudarshan News’ telecast show called Bindas Bol. regarding the entries of Muslims in the civil services. The Supreme Court barred the telecast of the programme on the basis it was stirring insidious hated against the Muslin Community. Times of India reports.
In the Courts
Matthews v Pigram  NSWDC 526, a case in the District Court of New South Wales concerning three defamatory emails. The plaintiff was awarded $20,600.
Webster v Brewer (No 3)  FCA 1343, damages were assessed after a default judgment in respect of seven defamatory publications. Damages of $350,000 were awarded to the first claimant, $225,000 to the second claimant and $300,000 to the third claimant.
Chopak v. Patrick, 2020 ONSC 5431, the Judge held that the defendant was liable for the defamatory statement of fact that the plaintiff had “admitted she lied”, however the statements about the plaintiff having an “axe to grind” and being a “rat” were expressions of opinion to which the defence of fair comment applied. Damages were reduced to $5,000.
Samoa Observer Company (Apia) Ltd v Oeti  WSCA 7, the Court of Appeal of Samoa partly allowed an appeal against a finding of liability in a libel case arising of a letter published in a newspaper making allegations concerning, inter alia, incest, mental impairment and brainwashing.
This Round up was complied by Suneet Sharma a junior legal professional with a particular interest and experience in media, information and privacy law.