What Are the Advantages & Disadvantages of Australia’s Defamati...

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What Are the Advantages & Disadvantages of Australia’s Defamation Law as It Applies to the Media Industry?

By | October 2012
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What are the Advantages & Disadvantages of Australia’s Defamation Law as it applies to the media industry? Include comparison with defamation laws in the US?

Abstract
The Defamation Act 2005 objective is to protect the reputation and standing of distinguishable individuals. The law aims to balance free speech with the rights of individuals to enjoy a reputation without indefensible attack. However the question remains as to whether the act protects media personal in allowing them to continue practicing their profession to the best their ability. This question is addressed in the paper which provides an in depth analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of the defamation Act in relation to the Australian media landscape. The paper also compares the Australian legislation to that of the United States and United Kingdom in attempting to create a holistic understanding of the legislation and the elements that work best here and overseas. Defamation cases within Australia are also analyses to address the impact of precedent on these advantages and disadvantages and the evolving nature of the media.  

Introduction
With every new legislation there will be advantages and disadvantages scrutinized for their effectiveness. One such legislation is the Defamation Act 2005. The legislation has several implications to the media industry, that both benefit and disadvantage their ability to continue practicing their job in a protected environment, without risk. The advantages include the uniformed approach to defamation across Australia which ensures media publications are dealt with in a comprehensive manner when they cross borders. Secondly the accountability of defamation laws within Australia guarantees media personnel understand the margins of their ability reproduce work and are protected from being pressured into producing defamatory material. Thirdly the honest opinion defence is a clear advantage of the Defamation Act 2005 in ensuring the media have the...

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