Australian Court Holds News Publishers Liable for Third Party Comments

On September 8, the High Court of Australia denied media companies’ appeal of the Supreme Court of New South Wales defamation decision last year. On June 1, 2020, the Supreme Court of New South Wales held that several media companies were liable under defamation law for comments by third parties on news posts on the media groups’ Facebook pages. In denying the appeal, the High Court used dated precedent to adopt a very broad definition of publisher and publication. The Court ultimately held that the news groups were “facilitating, encouraging and thereby assisting the posting of comments by the third-party Facebook users” and thus publishers of those comments and can be held liable for defamatory content. Read more.

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