The broad aims of this course are twofold: first, is to consider the significant restraints that defamation law and associated causes of action place on what can be published by the media; and second, is to consider whether the extent and scope of such restraints are appropriate. These aims are pursued through a detailed analysis of defamation law in Australia, as well as by looking at many of the practical aspects of defamation law that contribute to its impact on media freedom. There is also scope for theoretical, comparative and historical analysis. Why do we value reputation? How should we protect it? How do other jurisdictions approach these questions? Particular focus is placed on questioning the appropriate balance between the protection of personal reputation and the media's perceived role in a democratic society.
history and theory of defamation law and the protection of reputation
overview of theoretical aspects of freedom of speech, the media and democracy
defamation: the cause of action in Australia
defences to defamation
conflict of laws and jurisdiction, particularly in the context of internet publications