Defamation and Media Law Journal 1: What is Defamation?

Anyone who suffers loss or harm as a consequence of a civil wrong, other than for breach of contract, is said to have a potential right of action under the law of tort.  Defamation is a tort.  Other examples of claims in tort include actions for negligence or nuisance or civil assault.

Defamation is the right of action in respect of damage to reputation.  It is a collective term encompassing claims for damages in respect of written words or images, once referred to as libel and claims based on spoken words or gestures formerly referred to as slander.

Self Publishers Beware

With improvements in technology and sophisticated printing services being more readily available many people, particularly retirees, are now taking the opportunity to self publish their memoirs. Their warts and all account of their life's story. Whilst this can be a richly rewarding experience it can potentially be a legal minefield. Defamation, copyright, confidentiality, and privacy are just some of the issues that can and frequently do arise when publishing a book. Of course these considerations can arise with any publication, not just biographies.

Bennett & Philp Client Update: Protecting Journalists' Confidential Sources (Shield Laws)


In compiling news stories journalists are frequently provided with information from confidential sources on an 'off the record' basis. Without the ability to procure information in this way it would often be impossible to publish important hard hitting stories pertaining to crime, corruption, maladministration and some of the excesses of government and political power.


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