Dec 1, 2010

Rundle: Mitchell’s own goal on the eco fascist line

If the editor of The Australian firms up defamation law as regards the metaphorical use of the "fascist" tag, then he will have handed innumerable people a precedent with which to target every News Ltd columnist and blogger who's muttered about "greenshirts", eco-Nazis or the like.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


By now there will have been plenty of comments on Jonathan Holmes’s Drum-beat up on Posetti-twittergate (there’s going to be so many twittergates in the future, I suggest we give them double-barrelled surnames, like kids from Eton or Princes Hill High), most of them inflamed by Holmes’s grumpy old journo reaction to the medium (“It’s been one of those issues the Twitterati love — because it’s all about them and their beloved medium” he says, later adding, “You kids! Get off my lawn! My prostate hurts! what the hell is a frappacino?!”).


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9 thoughts on “Rundle: Mitchell’s own goal on the eco fascist line

  1. Meski

    Don’t you know? With Chris, it’s do what I say, not what I do. We could rename “The Australian” to “The Hypocritican” without being far off the mark.

  2. Ern Malleys cat

    I’m glad you called out Holmes on his response. I was surprised at the near-universal adulation on twitter, including Jay Rosen’s much-retweeted praise.
    I thought he was just as ‘get off my lawn’ as Caroline Overington.

  3. Meski

    Where is Twitter considered to be published, anyway? Where its servers are? Where its clients are?

  4. Dave

    @Meski – I think where its readers are. Defamation on the internet is international in scope? eg Dow Jones & Co Inc v Gutnick.

    “Having found that the place of publication was the place of downloading, Victoria,
    and Gutnick himself having confined his claim to Victoria, the High Court had no
    difficulty finding that the applicable law was Victorian law.”

    But I could be wrong.
    Above quote from:

  5. Guy Rundle

    Twitter is published in that it’s mass distributed language (writing or speech – defamation on radio is libel, not slander) using ISPs. I presume if you set up a ‘dial-a-number’ and recorded the message that Craig Mitcham, editor of the Australasian, killed the Beaumont children, then its libel. But if you called one person and said that, and Mitcham heard about it, then it’s slander. But whether it falls across the libel or slander line, twitter is clearly under the purview of defamation law

  6. Roberto Tedesco

    Chris Mitchell is a very silly boy. And he should go to his room if he can’t play nicely.

  7. Guy Rundle

    actually Hudson may be an IPA flack not a CIS flack. they should wear jumpers….

  8. AR

    I look forward to an own goal along the lines of the pyrrhic McLibel case. It’ll be tough on Possetti unless her defense is pro bonobut that’s what happens when the powerful are so badly out of wack with decency that lese majeste again becomes actionable.

  9. Meski

    Having found that the place of publication was the place of downloading

    I’m not contending that your quote is wrong, Dave, but that’s going to make for unworkable law. You can cherry-pick the jurisdiction you want, and have the case held there.

    Meanwhile, Posetti probably ought to set up a fund that would let people donate to her cause via Paypal, etc. And/or find a lawyer that hates the Australian. (IMO, finding one that likes them must be harder)

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