Scandalising media freedom: Resurrection of an ancient contempt
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The ancient charge of "scandalising the court" (publications aiming at lowering the authority of the court) has had a resurgence in Australia over the past decade, at the very time judges and magistrates have developed an inclination to sue for defamation. The combined effect is to send a warning to media organisations to take care when criticising judicial officers or the judicial process, particularly if that involves implying some improper motive on the part of a judge or magistrate. In New Zealand there have been some isolated but significant threats and cases, particularly in the volatile area of family law. This paper reviews some recent Australian and New Zealand cases where a charge of scandalising the court has been either threatened or enforced and considers the implications for freedom of media expression in a new era of anti-terrorism when important questions are being asked about the fairness of justice processes.
Pacific Journalism Review
© 2008 Pacific Journalism Review. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version
Legal Institutions (incl. Courts and Justice Systems)