Home tech The media are not responsible for Facebook's comments

The media are not responsible for Facebook's comments

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Media companies are not responsible for the allegedly defamatory comments made on their Facebook pages on former North Territory youth inmate, Dylan Voller, a Sydney judge has been told. The law has already provided to Mr. Voller was a remedy as he could sue the people who made the comments, said James Hmelnitsky SC in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday. The lawyer – who is acting for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Centralian Advocate, Sky News Australia and The Bolt Report – was presenting the final statements in a case of defamation. Voller, whose maltreatment in Don Dale's youth detention center triggered a royal commission, has sued the companies over 10 Facebook posts published in 2016 and 2017, which he says carry false and defamatory charges. They included a complaint that attacked an officer of the Salvation Army who visited him in custody, leaving him blind in one eye and also that he is a rapist. His lawyer, Tom Molomby SC, claimed that media companies are responsible for the slanderous comments left on their Facebook pages. "The proof is that they had no systematic monitoring policy in place," he said on Friday. "They say they do not have the capacity because of the amount of traffic and yet they must have known that it was highly probable that there would be defamatory comments." But Mr. Hmelnitsky referred to previous cases when it was established that a defendant can be considered a publisher only after receiving notification of defamatory content. "There were no complaints about these publications: there were no emails, letters or phone calls". The first warning given to the defendants was when the declarations of compensation were notified, he said. "Liability extends only from the moment you were alerted," he said. "There is no authority for the proposition that you can be held responsible in these circumstances, without knowledge." Mr. Voller's reputation was protected by law, Hmelnitsky added. "Each of these commentators can be sued." Judge Stephen Rothman, who acknowledged that the losing party would probably appeal, reserved his decision. Australian Associated Press


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