‘Judges don’t get what journalists do’: Australia’s defamation law is having a chilling effect on the media

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Few topics generate conversation around the proverbial office water-cooler like a celebrity defamation trial.

  • Deborah Snow *
  • The Age

Classic contests over the years have included the 1982 case where architect Harry Seidler sued well-known cartoonist, Patrick Cook, over a brutal drawing Seidler thought impugned his artistic genius.

Then there was the famous attempt by onetime 60 Minutes reporter Richard Carleton to challenge Media Watch over its claim that he’d plagiarised a story aired by the BBC.

These were cases where the complainants fell well short of success.

Yet arguably they…

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