Bachelor of Mass Communication
MEDIA LAW & ETHICS (LAW64004/66504)
Assignment 1 – Case Analysis (20%)
Due: Monday, 2 May 2021, 6.00pm Word count: 1,200 maximum
This assignment requires you to read law cases carefully and produce in your own words,
1. a summary of the facts,
2. the legal issues which arise,
3. what the court decided,
4. the reasoning it used to reach that decision, and
5. your views and opinions on the case.
Please follow the outline for the assignment below and refer to the sample analysis provided.
Choose any TWO (2) cases to analyse, from the four cases that will be provided by the lecturer.
A. Typed, 1.5 spacing, Times New Roman, 12 font sizes
B. To be included for your submission all the following 1) Coversheet, 2) Feedback form/marking rubrics.
C. Submit WORD document to Turnitin (without coversheet and feedback form) and email full assignment (with coversheet & feedback form) to lecturer’s email.
D. Name the document in this format:
your formal/official name_MLE202203_Assignment 1
All documents named otherwise will not be accepted. Put your name and ID number inside the paper too.
E. Plagiarism is a serious offence and plagiarized work will attract serious penalties.
EXAMPLE OF FORMAT EXPECTED and Marking rubrics.
Case Title and Citation
Madhavan Nair v. P.P
 HCA 33
Facts – 3 marks
The accused (or name) is a New York-headquartered publishing company that operates
WSJ.com, a subscription-based news web site with its servers in New Jersey. WSJ.com
provided access to content from Barron’s Online, which reproduces articles and images
from the print version of Barron’s magazine, a Dow Jones publication. An article published in Barron’s Online on October 28, 2000 made references to the respondent, Joseph Gutnick, a resident of state of Victoria in Australia. Gutnick alleged the references to him were defamatory under Australian law.
Gutnick filed a suit in the Supreme Court of Victoria against Dow Jones claiming damages for defamation. Process was served on Dow Jones outside Australia in accordance with Rule 7.01(1) of the Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 1996.
The High Court judge in the case disagreed and dismissed the application by Dow Jones on grounds that the statements by Dow Jones had been published in Victoria when subscribers there accessed them online.
Dow Jones appealed to the Court of Appeal, which refused to hear the appeal on the grounds that the lower court’s decision was “plainly correct.”
Legal Issues – 4 marks
Whether online materials written in the United States and stored on servers in New Jersey
may be deemed to have been published in Victoria, Australia when accessed through the
World Wide Web there, whether such materials may be subject to the defamation law of
Victoria and whether the courts of Victoria are an appropriate forum for the litigation of a
defamation claim related to such materials.
Held (decision of court) – 4 marks
The court was unanimous in its decision to dismiss the appeal by Dow Jones, holding that the lower court did not err in refusing to stay the proceedings against Dow Jones, and ordered Dow Jones to pay costs. The ruling allowed Gutnick’s suit against Dow Jones to proceed in the court of first instance in Victoria.
Reasoning – 4 marks
Chief Justice Gleeson / Justices McHugh ruled that for the purposes of defamation, a statement may be deemed to be “published,” and defamation therefore occurs, in the place where the statement is comprehended by a third party, rather than in the location where the publisher initially issues or releases the statement. The court rejected Dow Jones’s argument in favor of a “single publication” rule for online materials in favor of the standards that apply to more traditional modes of communication under established common law precedents.
Your views and opinions – 5 marks
What you think about the defendant’s actions and should the law be different or is it a good law. Other ideas accepted.
Each case is marked upon 20 marks. But percentage for whole assignment of 2 cases is 20%.
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