Publishing a matter can include a gesture, tweet or a retweet!

The communication that causes the defamation can come in many forms. It does not need to be published in a newspaper or be in writing, it can be a verbal communication, a carton or photograph, it can be published on the internet, on social media or it can be contained in text messages, a letter or emails. In the case of Dow Jones & Company Inc v Gutnick [2002] HCA 56, the High Court considered that the same laws that apply to defamation in other types of publications apply to publications on the internet.

A matter, as defined in sch 5 of the Defamation Act 2005 (Qld), includes:

  • an article, report, advertisement or other thing communicated by means of a newspaper, magazine or other periodical
  • a program, report, advertisement or other thing communicated by means of television, radio, the internet or any other form of electronic communication
  • a letter, note or other writing
  • a picture, gesture or oral utterance
  • any other material thing by means of which something may be communicated to a person.