Roundup: Defamation reforms, the future of Twitter, Harry & Meghan

Harry & Meghan

Universal Music Australia, A Current Affair, ABC Radio, The Challenge winners

Business of Media

Defamation reforms: Australian media may not be liable for Facebook comments in future

Australian media companies may avoid liability for defamatory third-party comments on their social media posts if reforms supported by the nation’s attorneys general become law, reports The Guardian’s Amanda Meade.

The Standing Council of Attorneys General has given in-principle support to reforms to modernise the nation’s defamation laws relating to search engines and social media platforms.

In a decision that had ramifications for any Facebook page administrator, the high court said last year media companies could be held liable for allegedly defamatory material posted to their Facebook pages.

The case was sparked after Dylan Voller, whose mistreatment in the Northern Territory’s Don Dale youth detention centre led to a royal commission, sued some of Australia’s biggest media groups including the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian and Sky News over posts made by the public on their Facebook pages.

The New South Wales attorney general, Mark Speakman, said the amendments, which include a new innocent dissemination defence for internet intermediaries, would substantially upgrade Australia’s uniform defamation laws.

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Twitter ‘to lose 32m users in two years after Elon Musk takeover’

More than 30 million users are expected to leave Twitter over the next two years as concerns mount over technical issues and the proliferation of offensive content after Elon Musk’s $44bn takeover, according to a forecast, reports The Guardian’s Mark Sweney.

The number of global monthly users is predicted to fall by nearly 4% next year and 5% in 2024 – more than 32 million in total – in the first annual declines forecast by the market research agency Insider Intelligence since it began tracking the social media platform in 2008.

“There won’t be one catastrophic event that ends Twitter,” a principal analyst at Insider Intelligence, Jasmine Enberg, said. “Instead, users will start to leave the platform next year as they grow frustrated with technical issues and the proliferation of hateful or other unsavoury content.

“Twitter’s skeleton staff, working around the clock, won’t be able to counteract the platform’s infrastructure and content moderation problems.”

Its report anticipates that Twitter will lose more users in the US, its biggest market, than any other country, with numbers declining 8.2 million over the next two years. By the end of 2024, US user numbers are forecast to fall to 50.5 million, the lowest level since 2014, as Twitter becomes “more unstable, and less pleasant”.

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Universal Music Australia names Sean Warner as new boss after George Ash retires

Universal Music Australia has moved swiftly to announce a replacement for its top executive following the departure of George Ash from the post, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

In the major shake-up, Sean Warner has been appointed President of Universal Music Australia and New Zealand from January 1.

He has been with the label for 15 years and steps up to the most senior role within the company from his most recent position of Senior Vice President of Commercial.

“It is an honour and a privilege to take on this role as President of Universal Music Australia and New Zealand,” Warner said.

“As the region’s leading music company, we will continue to innovate and evolve our businesses, and support our artists and labels as they deliver the very best music and culture to fans. I look forward to working hand-in-hand with my colleagues to build on our successes together and would like to thank Sir Lucian for his belief in me, and to George for his friendship, faith and guidance during my time at UMA.”

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Sydney barrister’s husband allegedly stalked by Nine reporter about ownership of dog

A Sydney barrister’s husband was allegedly stalked and accosted by a Nine reporter before reports on A Current Affair about the ownership of Oscar, the Insta-famous cavoodle, reports The Australian Associated Press. 

Video footage shown in a federal court defamation hearing against Nine shows journalist Steve Marshall waiting outside the Kirribilli home Gina Edwards shared with her husband Ken Flavell.

Edwards is suing Nine over two TV broadcasts and two articles by A Current Affair regarding a bitter custody dispute over Oscar with former friend Mark Gillespie.

In the clip, Marshall follows Flavell as he walks Oscar through the streets of North Sydney, filming the conversation on his iPhone.

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ABC Sydney falls as 2GB ends ratings year on a high

If ABC Sydney’s broadcasters were looking forward to a tranquil summer break, the latest radio ratings might be as inconvenient as another La Nina washout, reports Nine Publishing’s Robert Moran.

In Tuesday’s figures, the final ratings survey of the year, the public broadcaster suffered the survey’s biggest dent, losing audience share right across the day.

Most notably, the station’s afternoon and drive slots felt the main impact.

In the 12pm to 4pm slot – which takes in Josh Szeps’ 12.30pm to 3.30pm Afternoons show – the broadcaster fell to a 4.7 per cent audience share (down 2.1 percentage points), significantly behind the 12.3 per cent share (down 0.7 percentage points) of the slot’s leader SmoothFM.

In the all-important 4pm to 7pm slot – which takes Richard Glover’s 3.30pm to 6.30pm Drive show – the station dropped to a 6.8 per cent audience share (down 2.5 percentage points) to fall further behind the slot’s leaders, KIIS’ Will & Woody (10.7 per cent share, up 0.1 percentage points).

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ABC Melbourne’s fall in end-of-year radio ratings

The ABC’s flagship Melbourne radio shows have dramatically fallen in the final ratings survey of the year, report News Corp’s Jackie Epstein and Brooke Grebert-Craig.

The national broadcaster shed listeners in every timeslot from late September, including during a highly-anticipated state election.

Virginia Trioli’s Mornings show experienced the largest drop of 2.3 per cent, to end with a 7.4 per cent audience share.

This is the show’s worst rating results of the eight surveys conducted in 2022.

Afternoons with Jacinta Parsons slipped by 2.3, Rafael Epstein’s Drive fell by 0.7 and Breakfast with Sammy J dropped by 0.6.

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Harry & Meghan documentary ranks as Netflix’s biggest documentary debut

Netflix Inc’s documentary series about Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan racked up more viewing time on the streaming service than any other documentary during its first week, the company said on Tuesday, reports ReutersLisa Richwine.

The first three episodes of Harry & Meghan recorded 81.55 million viewing hours after its debut last Thursday, Netflix said in a statement. More than 28 million households watched at least part of the series.

Harry & Meghan was the second-most watched English-language series on Netflix globally between Dec. 5 and 11, behind only Addams Family drama Wednesday. Harry & Meghan was the number one English-language series during the week in Britain.

In the first three episodes, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made a series of disclosures, with Meghan recalling her first death threat and Harry talking about wearing disguises to their dates.

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The Challenge crowns Troy & Kiki as its 2022 winners

Former Ninja Warrior Troy Cullen and ex Bachelor contestant Kiki Morris were last night declared winners of The Challenge Australia, each receiving $100,000 despite the failure of the show on Network 10, reports TV Tonight.

Relegated to a lacklustre 8:30 timeslot on multichannel 10 Shake (in between a rerun of The Office and Catfish), the show failed to attract the desired viewers 10 was hoping for as a prominent CBS franchise.

Ably hosted by non-binary newcomer Brihony Dawson, the show was designed to see the two winners proceed to a global competition, The Challenge: Global Championship.

That season is due to screen on Paramount+.

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