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Australia's libel laws might have let Enron get away with it

Corporate and M&A
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In an opinion article published in today’s AFR, partner Jeremy Leibler argues that the challenges faced by the Australian media in accurately reporting on the Blue Sky controversy are unacceptable and should prompt a radical review of this country’s defamation laws.

Jeremy asserts that “if the great short-selling stories of companies such as Enron and Valeant Pharmaceuticals had been set in Australia, our defamation laws may have got in the way”.

The main issue, Jeremy explains, is that media criticism of a company may involve imputations about a director personally, which would contravene current defamation laws. 

This seriously hamstrings coverage of unjustifiable corporate behaviour and “should be ringing alarm bells for the efficient operation of markets and informed discourse on company performance.”

“This raises a serious question: are our defamation laws depriving the market of information that it needs to deliver efficient market outcomes?”

To read Jeremy’s opinion article, click here.

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