A critical appraisal of the media safe harbour in the Australian Consumer Law

Journal article


Swannie, Bill. (2022). A critical appraisal of the media safe harbour in the Australian Consumer Law. Australian Business Law Review. 50(2), pp. 126-143.
AuthorsSwannie, Bill
Abstract

Since 1984, commercial information providers (essentially, media organisations) have been exempt from laws prohibiting misleading or deceptive conduct. This article examines the background, scope and rationale for this significant gap in the consumer protection provisions in the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), and compares the exemption with other areas of speech regulation. By examining defences in defamation law, a rational structure for balancing free speech considerations with other interests is revealed. Although media freedoms are important, the media exemption in the ACL is uncertain in its operation and provides a blanket exemption rather than the context-sensitive approach adopted in defamation law. This article concludes that the media exemption requires substantial reform, specifically by granting immunity only when the publication involves a matter of public interest and is done reasonably in all the circumstances.

Year2022
JournalAustralian Business Law Review
Journal citation50 (2), pp. 126-143
PublisherLawbook Co.
ISSN0310-1053
Web address (URL)https://anzlaw.thomsonreuters.com/Document/I10507d52272f11edb735de92088b33f9/View/FullText.html?transitionType=Default&contextData=(sc.Default)&VR=3.0&RS=cblt1.0
Page range126-143
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online2022
Publication process dates
Deposited29 May 2023
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