Business & Economy

CNN deactivates Australia Facebook pages over anti-defamation law

Sydney, Australia, Sep 29 (EFE).- American news network CNN became the first international outlet to disable access to its Facebook pages in Australia over a court ruling that allows the country’s media to be sued for defamation for followers’ comments online.

“This content is not available at this time,” CNN’s Australia’s page read Wednesday, in a decision justified in Facebook’s refusal to disable its pages’ comments sections in the country, according to reports in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

CNN criticized Facebook for not ensuring “that this platform is a place for credible journalism and a productive dialogue around current events among its users,” the statement read.

Facebook said that although it is not their job to give “legal advice to CNN” it has provided “the latest information” on the tools it makes available to help editors manage comments.

Likewise, Facebook indicated that it is “working closely with the review of defamation laws” both at the state and territory level and at the federal level in Australia.

CNN’s measure comes after Australia’s High Court, the country’s highest, issued a ruling on Sep. 8 that sets a legal precedent concerning the use of social networks.

The ruling concerned the case of the media groups News Corp and Fairfax Media (currently in the hands of Nine) and the Australian News Channel sued by young Aboriginal Dylan Voller, whose mistreatment in a correctional center in the Northern Territory was denounced in 2016.

Voller, who was then 17 years old, appeared in an ABC news report with his head covered by a white hood that made it difficult for him to breathe, while his guards tied his legs, arms and neck with shackles to a chair and left him alone as punishment for trying to harm himself.

Newspapers such as the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian or cable television network Sky News, considered among the most important media in the country, published stories about Voller on their Facebook pages in which readers left allegedly offensive comments.

The ruling allows Voller to sue media groups for comments he considers defamatory on social media, which is a source of news for 52 percent of Australians according to a recent study by marketing company Genroe. EFE


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