When someone talks about media, many people might only think about journalist, reporter, or people who have careers directly relate to media. However, that is not true. The rapid advancement of technology also allows everyone to access information and express their own opinions easier. In other words, everyone who uses media is considered as both publisher and consumer.
The consumption of social media has grown dramatically over the past few years. Until now, media plays a significant role in every aspect of our daily lives (Glatter, 2011). People rely on information and communication to keep their lives moving through daily activities like education, work, entertainment etc. (Curtis, 2012). From the research, around 1.61 billion people (nearly 30%) of world population use social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ each month to communicate, express opinions and access information. In 2017, the number is estimated to grow up to 2.33 billion (Gaudin, 2013). As a result, this change gives possibility to publishers to publish easier and faster with larger market. In contrast, it can be a double-edged sword. More audience the message goes to, more responsibility publishers have to take.
Even so, does only one message can really be able to hurt other people’s right, and get the publisher into trouble? The power of media cannot be underestimated. One of the most powerful influences of media is persuasion. People “make decisions based on the information from media. Therefore, even one sentence can shape what people think. As a result, we need to be careful and “aware that the values we hold, the beliefs we harbor and the decisions we make are based on our assumptions, our experiences, our education and what we know for a fact” (Curtis, 2012).
As a publisher, anyone in media needs to understand media basic laws, which are defamation, contempt of court and privacy laws, since it allows you to protect your right and prevent you from invade other people’s right as well. More importantly, you have to ensure that “you are acting lawfully at all times” (Vennapoosa, 2009).
‘Defamation’ is one main area that media users should be aware of. Defamation law will be active “when a person is falsely accused of an offence or their character or actions are attacked” (“Defamation,” 2014). Defamation can occur from many forms, spoken words (slander), words or images (libel). However, This law has exceptional, if the publisher can prove that the statement is true or the statement is for comment on a matter of public interest (“Defamation,” 2014).
With the rise of social networks, defamation is becoming increasingly common. In Australia, Andrew Farley, an alumnus of a high school, posted defamatory messages on Facebook and Twitter, claiming that Christine Mickle, a teacher at his former high school was responsible of his dad’s poor health. As a result, the court orders Farley to pay $105,000 for Mickle’s legal costs (Farrell, 2014)....