This is the tenth 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 Media
Kevin Rudd has referred to Rupert Murdoch’s control over the Australian media market as a “cancer on democracy” that serves to “chill free speech and undermine public debate”. The former Australian Prime Minister is calling for a royal commission into the dominance of the Murdoch media empire. The Guardian, Independent and Reuters reports. In the wake of criticism of Murdoch’s media holdings the Sydney Morning Herald has considered just how much influence Murdoch has over the Australian media.
Mondaq reports on the latest tranche of media funding available to television outlets following the federal government’s amended budget. Screen Australia with receive $30m over the next two year whereas the Australian Children’s Television Foundation will receive $20m over the next two years.
Journalist Dan Oakes will not be prosecuted for reporting on alleged war crimes by Australian soldiers. Oakes prepared a report for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 2017 based on leaks from government whistle-blowers. The Australian police later raided ABC’s Sydney newsroom, saying the reporting breach national security laws. The BBC, Reuters and Guardian report.
Australia’s News Bargaining Code continues to face criticism with Google calling the Code “unworkable”- Business Insider reports on Google’s recent statements.
Alan Jones is suing SBS and Alex Lee for defamation alleging a piece on the Feed about his retirement from radio contained imputations that he was a racist, misogynist, liar and paedophile.
Australian MP Anne Webster and her husband have been successful in a defamation case against conspiracy theorist Karen Brewer over a series of Facebook posts she made in April and May. Webster was awarded AUS$875,000 (£493,000). Justice Gleeson labelled Brewer’s allegations that Ms Brewster was “a member of a secretive paedophile network” as “deranged and lacking credibility”.
The Canadian Supreme Court has declined to hear the defamation case of a former Dawson City couple awarded over $800,000, Yukon News reports
Hong Kong police have announced that they would no longer recognise certain types of media accreditation such as those of the Hong Kong Journalists Association and Hong Kong Press Photographers Association.
Justice Minister Andrew Little has issued a statement, alongside Five Eyes partners, stating concerns around social media’s end-to-end encryption, RNZ reports.
In the Courts
Nine Network Australia Pty Ltd & Ors v Wagner & Ors  QCA 221 in the Supreme Court of Queensland considering whether the appellants were sued as joint or several concurrent tortfeasors and accordingly whether the award of damages gives rise to double recovery or satisfaction.
Hafertepen v Network Ten Pty Limited  FCA 1456 the Federal Court of Australia granted an application for an order demanding specific performance of the provisions of a settlement agreement arising from defamation allegations.
Gair and Turland v Greenwood  NSWDC 586, a successful application for a permanent injunction following a successful claim for defamation. Damages was awarded in the sum of $107,980 for the first plaintiff and $129,468 for the second plaintiff.
Kocwa v Twitter Inc  QDC 252, an application for an interlocutory injunction concerning a number of tweets regarding the claimant. The balance of convenience was not met.
Fourth Estate Holdings (2012) Limited v Joyce  NZCA 479, a defamation case in the Court of Appeal of New Zealand concerning an article written Matthew Hooton in the National Business Review concerning the, at the time, MP, member of the National Party Mr Joyce. The appeal succeed, with the court finding that the statements did not have the defamatory meanings claimed by the claimant.
This Round up was complied by Suneet Sharma a junior legal professional with a particular interest and experience in media, information and privacy law.