New laws to protect public interest journalism and curb ‘crippling damages payouts’ will be introduced ‘as soon as possible’

Australian states have agreed to a dramatic overhaul of “outdated” defamation laws in a bid to protect public interest journalism and curb escalating damages payouts.

The New South Wales attorney general, Mark Speakman, on Monday announced sweeping changes, outlining a plan to “reset” laws which he said had resulted in “crippling damages payouts, chilling public interest journalism and clogging courts with minor claims”.

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