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Supreme Court ruling sends shockwaves through Australian media

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Supreme Court ruling sends shockwaves through Australian media

Australian media companies could be liable for third-party comments made on their social media posts after the High Court upheld a ruling on a case by a formerly imprisoned teen who sued media companies over comments about him.

The five-two decision on Wednesday creates a precedent applying to Australian media companies, which potentially makes them liable as publishers of comments from social media users as though they made the statements themselves.

The ruling comes after an appeal by Nine Entertainment and News Corp in relation to the case of Dylan Voller, who in 2016 was filmed suffering cruel treatment in a Northern Territory prison.

The footage of Voller was posted online by Australian outlets and attracted comments which he claimed were defamatory. Voller sued the Australian, Sydney Morning Herald (now owned by Nine Entertainment), and News Corp’s Sky News Australia for the comments, claiming the outlets were responsible for the third party inputs, sparking a four-year legal battle.

The defending media companies argued that they couldn’t be considered publishers of their readers’ comments.

However, the majority of the Court held that the liability of a “publisher” depends upon whether they, by “facilitating and encouraging” the relevant communication, “participated” in the communication of the defamatory matter.

Media companies, “by the creation of a public Facebook page and the posting of content on that page, facilitated, encouraged and thereby assisted the publication of comments from third-party Facebook users,” reads the ruling. It concludes that the news companies were, therefore, the “publishers of the third-party comments.

The ruling opens the door for Voller to pursue the outlets’ parent companies for defamation.

In the dissenting opinion, Justice Steward argued that companies posting to Facebook “starts an electronic conversation” that could spark “thousands of comments from around the world.” He added that the companies would have “no actual means of controlling the contents of such comment”.

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Health

French President Emmanuel Macron Says Someone Who Refuses COVID Vaccine Is ‘Not a Citizen’

French president Macron’s desire to ‘piss off’ unvaccinated individuals triggers outrage

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French President Emmanuel Macron Says Someone Who Refuses COVID Vaccine Is ‘Not a Citizen’

French President Emmanuel Macron faced significant criticism for his comments claiming that he would like to “piss off” unvaccinated individuals. 

Macron spoke candidly during an interview with French newspaper Le Parisien, during which he said that he wanted to make life difficult for individuals who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine. The French “sanitary pass” has prompted a number of protests and stiff opposition while the country nears 75% full vaccination. 

“I really want to piss them off, and we’ll carry on doing this – to the end,” Macron said three months ahead of a presidential election. “I won’t send [unvaccinated people] to prison, so we need to tell them, from 15 January, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema.”

The French Parliament heard Macron’s comments during a debate over his proposed bill to tighten restrictions for unvaccinated individuals, leading to a swift and strong uproar in response. 

His opponents have labeled the comments “unworthy” of a president. 

“Even if one doesn’t share their choice, they have broken none of our country’s laws,” Marine Le Pen, Macron’s chief opponent in the upcoming election, told reporters late Tuesday. “He is continuing his policy of division, of pitting the French against one another.”

She later tweeted “A president shouldn’t say that…Emmanuel Macron is unworthy of his office.” 

Leftist politician Jean-Luc Melanchon described the remarks as an “astonishing confession,” according to the BBC

But Macron’s allies have defended the comments, with Stéphane Séjourné, a member of the European Parliament, arguing on Twitter that unvaccinated individuals have “bothered” the French by “forcing the rest of the population to endure restrictions.” 

Debate over Macron’s bill continue into Wednesday as opponents still seek to delay its passage. Some of his supporters claimed to have received death threats because they are backing the legislation, The New York Times reported. 

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Assange ‘suffers stroke in jail’ after court rules he can be extradited to America

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Assange ‘suffers stroke in jail’ after court rules he can be extradited to America

WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange has reportedly suffered a stroke in jail.

The 50-year-old is being held at the high security Belmarsh Prison as he battles to avoid being extradited to America following a court ruling.

Assange has reportedly been left with a drooping right eyelid, memory problems and signs of neurological damage following a mini-stroke.

It’s reported the stroke happened at the time of a High Court appearance via video link in October.

His fiancee Stella Moris said he is “struggling” with the stress of fighting extradition to a US prison.

Since the mini-stroke, Assange reportedly has had an MRI scan and is taking anti-stroke medication.

Ms Moris told the Mail: “Julian is struggling and I fear this mini-stroke could be the precursor to a more major attack. It compounds our fears about his ability to survive the longer this long legal battle goes on. 

“It urgently needs to be resolved. Look at animals trapped in cages in a zoo. It cuts their life short. That’s what’s happening to Julian. The never-ending court cases are extremely stressful mentally.”

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Luxemburg: People break down barriers of Covid pass checkpoint at Christmas Market

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Luxemburg: People break down barriers of Covid pass checkpoint at Christmas Market

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