Defamation law in Australia: How free is expression?

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The interactions between freedom of expression, the right of the public to be informed and Australia’s defamation laws have come to a head this week. Dr Daniel Joyce, an Associate of Australian Human Rights Institute and a Senior Lecturer at UNSW Law & Justice, has recently written an opinion article for The Guardian about the significance of Christian Porter’s civil suit for Australian media expression and political communication.  

“Politicians have long used defamation law to protect their personal reputations and as a strategic tool in shaping political communication. 

“Defamation law in this country is notorious for its complexity, for the risks associated with litigation and for the burden it places upon freedom of expression. This burden – sometimes referred to as a “chilling effect” when media freedom is at stake – is a prime example of how freedom of expression is limited by our laws.” 

Read the full article here: 

“Christian Porter’s defamation action threatens to further chill public interest journalism”  

By Daniel Joyce for The Guardian. March 16, 2021.