An analysis of the defamation law in australia

ISBN 1 6. Free Association Books, pages 1—

An analysis of the defamation law in australia

Much of the text is an abbreviated version of that in Chapter Defamation -what you cannot do and Chapter Defamation - what you can doso you might want to read those first.

This chapter, however, is more specific about the application of defamation laws in Australia. At its simplest, defamation is to spread bad reports about someone which could do them harm. The verb is to defame. You can defame someone if you say something false about them which spoils their good reputation, which makes people want to avoid them or which hurts them in their work or their profession.

To defame someone, you do not have to make up false things yourself. You might defame a person by repeating or replaying words spoken by someone else, for example an interviewee. It is no defence to claim that you were only quoting someone else.

If you print or broadcast something defamatory, you could be taken to court, along with your producer, your editor or station manager and the person who said the words in the first place.

Before Januarydefamation varied from state to state across Australia, but now there are Uniform Defamation Laws which are similar across all states and territories.

The uniform laws adopted and adapted a number of statutory provisions from old laws but still retain the basic principles of common law, which traditionally defines defamation as: The publication of any false imputation concerning a person, or a member of his family, whether living or dead, by which a the reputation of that person is likely to be injured or b he is likely to be injured in his profession or trade or c other persons are likely to be induced to shun, avoid, ridicule or despise him.

Publication of defamatory matter can be by a spoken words or audible sound or b words intended to be read by sight or touch or c signs, signals, gestures or visible representations, and must be done to a person other than the person defamed.

If a person thinks that you have defamed them and takes you to court, they have to prove that three of these things have happened: That the words were capable of a defamatory meaning as understood by ordinary members of society.

Defamatory meaning could be anything which harms the person, in their reputation, their business or in the way other people treat them.

Australian Defamation Laws and the Internet

The law does not say that the plaintiff must show actual proof of being harmed; it is enough that the false statement could have led to harm. That the words identify him as the person defamed.

It is not necessary that he should have been specifically named. If he can show the court that a reasonable person would take the words to refer to him, he will probably have a good case.

Groups of people such as small companies or not for profit associations can sue for defamation if they can demonstrate that the words identified them as a group. That the words or pictures have been published, that is heard or seen by a third person.

The first person is the one talking or writing youthe second person is the person being talked or written about the plaintiffthe third person is anyone else who may hear or read the offending matter such as a reader or listener. There is no civil defamation if the words, however bad or untrue, are spoken or written only to the person about whom they are made.

Under the old system of individual state laws, almost anyone or any organisation or company could bring an action for defamation.

However, under the Uniform Defamation Law, corporations with 10 or more employees cannot sue.

An analysis of the defamation law in australia

However, be warned that individuals or groups of individuals employed by or associated with that corporation - such as company directors, CEOs or managers - can still sue if they are identified by the publication.

Not-for-profit organisations can still sue for defamation, no matter how many employees or members they have. Under the law, you as the publisher or broadcaster have to provide the evidence to support any of the following defences.

Truth Truth which is also called justification is probably the best defence. This requirement has been dropped from the Uniform Defamation Law and now there is a defence if the defendant can prove that the defamatory imputations are substantially true.

Privilege and protected reports The law recognises that there are times when there has to be complete freedom of speech without any risk of claims for defamation. The two main examples are in parliaments and courts. MPs speaking in parliament or people speaking in court proceedings are protected from defamation by absolute privilege which means they cannot be sued whatever they say or whatever their motive for saying it.

Your reports of such proceedings are usually protected by qualified privilege. Protection only usually applies as long as your report is honestly broadcast for the information of the public or the advancement of education and is reasonable.Before January , defamation varied from state to state across Australia, but now there are Uniform Defamation Laws which are similar across all states and territories.

The uniform laws adopted and adapted a number of statutory provisions from old laws but still retain the basic principles of common law, which traditionally defines. Lack of uniformity in Australian jurisdictions' defamation laws. Australian defamation laws are primarily State and Territory laws (not Federal) and the law, including available defences, was different in each jurisdiction until Defamation Law in Australia, 3rd edition commences with a colourful historical analysis of defamation action in England and Australia, before providing an in-depth commentary on the general underlying law, principles and concepts.

Defamation law in Australia / Patrick George. - Version details - Trove

Following the introduction of the Defamation Act (Cth), defamation law is substantially uniform in Australia. Abstract.

This article reports on a comparative content analysis of more than 1, Australian and US newspaper articles. The study suggests that in the US - where defamation plaintiffs face much heavier burdens than under Australian law - defamatory allegations are made more frequently against both political and corporate actors than in Australia.

It looks like you've lost connection to our server. Please check your internet connection or reload this page. Through introducing comparative content analysis to Australian media law research, the article supports the idea that Anglo-Australian defamation law has a chilling effect media speech.

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