Sydney: Media companies are responsible for defamatory comments made on their Facebook pages, an Australian court said in a landmark ruling Monday. The New South Wales Supreme Court ruled that three media companies were responsible for user comments on a story about an indigenous youth detainee, Dylan Voller, in 2016 and 2017. Voller claimed that publishers of the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and Sky News were responsible for comments on their public Facebook pages — alleging he was a rapist and that he attacked a Salvation Army officer leaving the man blind in one eye. His lawyers said the comments were defamatory. Voller had been held in a youth detention in the Northern Territories, and videos of him being mistreated by staff prompted a Royal Commission inquiry in 2016. Lawyers for the media companies argued they could not be expected to filter the hundreds and thousands of comments posted on their Facebook pages day and night. But, acknowledging the ruling related to an “emerging area” of law, the court found that the media companies could have screened or blocked defamatory comments. The court considered cases from New Zealand to Hong Kong, and ultimately determined companies should pay costs and potential damages, but left the door open for appeal. It did not rule on whether the comments themselves were defamatory. The case raises questions about laws governing Facebook and other social media sites, notably, whether Australia’s already stringent defamation laws — which strongly favour those claiming defamation — have become even tougher. “It could have far-reaching implications for media organisations using Facebook as a platform,” said lawyers at Addisons in a legal briefing paper.
A first-year English Literature class will be taught this spring using a hybrid format that incorporates in-class and online learning, as well as a month-long reflective period to write an essay.Imagine getting a required humanities credit knocked off your to-do list this summer.Now imagine one taught by an award-winning professor and with an entire month to finish a major assignment after classes end.Welcome to ENGL 1F91, English Literature: Tradition and Innovation.The full-credit course, taught by Dean of Humanities Douglas Kneale, covers the who’s who of English literature from the Middle Ages to the present. And it does it in an innovative way that’s new to Brock’s spring term course offerings.The course is a hybrid of intensive learning with classes running 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for two weeks followed by a one-month interval that allows students time to reflect on texts they’ve studied and work on an essay free of the demands of daily class.There is no final exam.“Because the course is compressed, it would be too much for students to read sonnets in the morning and complete an essay in the afternoon,” said Kneale, who has used this format to teach at the graduate level at another university. “Just worry about reading book nine of Paradise Lost for today. Don’t worry about finishing a paper on it.”Douglas KnealeDaily classes with Kneale consist of lectures, seminars with teaching assistants, review and an online assessment.A portion of the final mark is also allocated to online writing and grammar exercises tailored to the class by Brock’s Essay Zone, which helps students sharpen their writing skills.The hybrid format ensures the class appeals to all types of learners, Kneale explained.“It’ll allow us to steep ourselves in the study of literary history, genre and interpretation. For two weeks, we’ll just swim around in a sea of literature,” he said.During the month-long reflective period, students will be able to contact teaching assistants for help or questions about course material.Kneale, who won a teaching award when he was at Western, said he’s looking forward to getting back into the classroom.“I love to keep my hand in teaching and this gives me an innovative way to do it,” he said.The course is open to 100 students. In addition to being a humanities context credit, Kneale said it’s the perfect gateway course for students hoping to go on in English, either honours or as a double major.To learn more about this course or other context credits being offered this spring, visit the course listing online.Read Super Spring will be bursting with new course offeringsRead Coaching theory one of several quick credits offered this spring Read Clown doctor in the house this summer at BrockRead Learn anywhere with spring term courses online