This is the eighteenteenth 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
The impact of the Australian High Court decision that media companies can be held liable for defamatory comments posted on their Facebook pages can be seen in CNN’s recent disabling of its Facebook page. The New York Times has an editorial on the Voller case.
The Australian Senate Inquiry into media diversity continues with News Corp CEO Robert Thompson set to answer questions from the Committee next week. The Guardian reports [£].
The Australian government looks to tackle intermediary responsibility for social media posts, CNBC reports comments from Communications Minister Paul Fletcher. We expect a stronger position from the platforms. For a long time, they’ve been getting away with not taking any responsibility in relation to content published on their sites,” Fletcher said during an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Facebook’s licensing deals for news content have drawn comment from Reuters, which raised concerns that smaller publishers, such as TV broadcaster SBS, were being excluded.
Proposed Canadian online harms legislation has been critiqued in an insightful article by Ilan Kogan for CBC’s opinion column. Proposed legislation would make social media platforms have to take “all reasonable measures” to identify harmful content and restrict its visibility.
In his podcast, Michael Geist has considered highly significant developments to Quebec’s privacy laws in the passing of Bill 64. Geist states that Bill 64 constitutes “a major privacy reform package that reflects – and even goes beyond- international privacy standards”. Geist also opines on the Governments recent online harms consultation. Geist’s submission to the consultation which covers 24 hours takedowns website blocking, proactive monitoring, and enforcement can be found here.
The Narhwal covers a “spate” of hate mail targeting Canadian journalists, arguing that media outlets need to do more to confront racist, misogynistic abuse.
An Ontario court ruled that a police video interview of serial killer Bruce McArthur was improperly withdrawn at a disciplinary hearing for the police officer who was involved in letting McArthur go.
UN News highlights concerns around the treatment of pro-democracy activist and woman human rights defender Chow Hang-Tung on charges of “incitement to subversion” and being a foreign agent as a source of “deep concern”.
The Hong Kong government has been critiqued by the Guardian [£] for pushing ahead with national security legislation that raises freedom of speech concerns.
Following the closure of the liberal news outlet the Apple Daily the East Asia Forum considers the future of Chinese language journalism in Hong Kong.
The New Zealand Broadcasting School has launched a review after and alleged incident of sexual assault at a tertiary provider.
Gavin Ellis evaluates the New Zealand media’s approach to the pandemic.
The Star covers Pakistan’s announcement of amended social media rules- Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards) Rules, 2021. Under the new rules social media companies have to register with the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority within three months.
The Moscow Times covers Russia’s labelling of media outlets as “foreign agents” noting the recent addition of Rosbalt and Republic. Radio Free Europe also reports.
In the Courts
Gan v Zadravic  NSWDC 533– a case concerning proportionality and triviality of a defamation action. The District Court of New South Wales conducted a detailed analysis of the factors of proportionality and triviality where a case may constitute an undue use of the courts time.
Lavallee et al. v. Isak, 2021 ONSC 6661. M Smith J awarded general damages of Can$50,000 to each plaintiff, who were the victims of a sustained online defamatory campaign accusing them of racism.
Pineau v. KMI Publishing and Events Ltd 2021 BCSC 1952, on an assessment of damages (for liability see 2021 BCSC 1268) Kirchner J awarded damages of Can$60,000 in respect of false claims that the plaintiff had been used for making fraudulent claims on his corporate credit card.
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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