Medial Laws Cases


You run a popular accommodation reviews website called ‘True Blue Reviews’ which is
famous for its frank ratings of Australian hotels and motels. While you are happy to run
critical – even scathing – reviews, you are very wary of defamation action and try to keep
within the bounds of key defences. You are also wary of fake reviews posted by competitors
trying to steer business from another hotel to their own. Two reviews of motels at the tiny
fishing village of Dolphin Bay have been posted within the past few hours.

Fisherman’s Lodge – Rating 1/10 – The staff are so unfriendly we thought we were staying
at Fawlty Towers. Bathroom plumbing is hanging out of the wall and the toilet hasn’t been
scrubbed in weeks. Bed bugs big enough to use for bait. Our advice: ‘Dodge the Lodge’.  –
Steve and Penny Daltrone, Port Lincoln
Dolphin Delight – Rating 10/10 – The name says it all – it is sheer heaven for
anyone wanting to enjoy the delights of Dolphin Bay. Smiling staff, sparkling
amenities, and a welcoming hibiscus flower on the starched white linen. Home
away from home, just metres from pristine waters. – Doris Parchley, Suffolk, United

Strangely, though, both comments were posted from the same computer IP address in – you
guessed it – Dolphin Bay, Australia.

Use your 600 words to answer these questions about this situation:

a. What are the main media law issues that arise here?
b. Explain briefly how those laws and possible defences might apply.
c. What cases / examples / legislation are relevant to this situation?
d. Assuming the goal is to try to publish as much material as is legally allowable,
what course of action would you recommend for the publisher in this situation and


There are three main issues that arise from this case. The first issues is whether the right of political expression is constitutionally protected, considering the provision of Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rightswhich grants freedom to hold contrary opinion nad to express the opinions. This is because as a government employee, there is thin line between the extents to which one can express a political opinion about the government he/she is serving. The second issues is whether the employee breached any code of privacy for the government, considering that she is expected to keep government’s information private, and s. 13(11) of Public Service Act 1999 requires employees to uphold good reputation of the country, s. 13(11) and (7) of the same act requiring employees to be honest and act with integrity and should avoid conflict of interest respectively. The third issues is whether the employee should be dismissed considering that she is protected against victimisation by s. 340(1) of Fair Work Act 2009.