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Defamation and Digital Publishers: How to Navigate Legal Risk

$ 240.00


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2 hrs


2 hrs

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Lead Academic

Professor Derek Wilding

Professor Derek Wilding
Co-Director, Centre for Media Transition | Professor, UTS Law

Derek is Co-Director of the Centre for Media Transition in the Faculty of Law at UTS. He specialises in media law and regulation. Before joining UTS, he was Executive Director of the Australian Press Council, and also worked for the Australian Communications and Media Authority and the Office of Film and Literature Classification.

Derek was Director of the Communications Law Centre at UNSW and earlier worked for the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance. He is the head of the Australian Chapter of the International Institute of Communications and chair of the research panel for the Public Interest Journalism Initiative. His research interests include media standards, digital platform regulation and media pluralism.

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Digital publishing and social media can help businesses connect to their customers, but they can also result in significant legal risk. This UTS Open short course provides an introduction to defamation law for digital content writers, owners and publishers.

About this course

Despite recent reforms, defamation law can still provide strong remedies for people who feel their reputations have been harmed. This short course delivers practical insights for digital content creators, as well as anyone using social media, to reduce the risk of defamation claims. Crafted in easy-to-navigate modules, course content covers:

  • Publication - when will you be liable and who can sue you?
  • Defamatory meaning - what you think your content says isn’t always what others, including the court, will think.
  • Defences - how can you minimise risk when dealing with contentious subjects?

Initially created in 2021, this course was updated in June 2024 to reflect Australian legislative changes which came into effect on 01 July 2024.

Key benefits of this course

This course will equip you with: 

  • Fundamental knowledge of defamation law concepts and principles
  • The skills to identify and adapt content to manage legal risk
  • Realistic exercises and scenarios to put your learning into practice
  • Insights into current issues and the effects of recent law reforms
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD) - For NSW lawyers, the Law Society of New South Wales advises: “If this particular educational activity extends your knowledge and skills in areas that are relevant to your practice needs or professional development, then you should claim one (1) “unit” for each hour of attendance, refreshment breaks not included.”

Digital badge and certificate

A digital badge and certificate will be awarded following the successful completion of any necessary tasks or assessments to demonstrate acquired learning of the short course or for meeting attendance and/or participation requirements.

Learn more about UTS Open digital badges.


Full price: $265 (GST-free)*

Special price: $240 (GST-free)* Special price ends on Wednesday 31 July 2024, 11:59pm (AEST). 

*Price subject to change. Please check price at time of purchase.

Discounts are available for this course. For further details and to verify if you qualify, please check the Discounts section under Additional course information.

Enrolment conditions

Course purchase is subject to UTS Open Terms and Conditions. 

COVID-19 response 

UTS complies with latest Government health advice. Delivery of all courses complies with the UTS response to COVID-19.

Additional course information

Course outline

Participants will access the course via the user-friendly online learning management system (LMS), Canvas. The course content is presented in engaging and interactive ways. Throughout the course, participants will:

  • Read about the core principles relating to each aspect of defamation law
  • See how these principles are likely to apply to smaller publishers, non-profit organisations and the like
  • Access further detail on aspects relevant to them
  • Debunk some of the myths and misunderstandings of defamation law
  • Explore the risks associated with specific digital activities, from email to social media posts to online videos
  • Work through practical examples that show how to apply the law and manage risk
  • Check their progress through module summaries and ‘test yourself’ segments.

This self-paced course is designed to take participants approximately 1-2 hours to complete, however participants may choose to spend more time exploring suggested readings and resources.

Participants who achieve a result of at least 80% in the marked multiple choice quiz (final module) will be eligible for a UTS Short Course Certificate for this short course.

Course learning objectives

This course will equip participants with:

  • An understanding of defamation law in the context of digital media
  • Knowledge of the circumstances that can lead to legal action
  • Skills to identify content that might raise a risk of defamation, and the steps to mitigate this risk.

By the end of the course, participants should understand best practice approaches to protecting themselves, their colleagues and organisation from defamation claims.



Participants access the course via Canvas and will need:

  • Access to a computer or device with a reliable internet connection
  • Operating system and a web browser compatible with Canvas
  • Speakers or headphones for audio. 


Discounts are available for this course as follows:  

  • 10% discount for 2-4 participants from the same organisation
  • 15% for 5+ participants from the same organisation
  • 10% discount for UTS alumni and staff

Discounts cannot be combined and only one discount can be applied per person per course session. Discounts can only be applied to the full price. Discounts cannot be applied to any offered special price.  

 UTS Staff only: How to enrol and obtain your UTS staff discount  

  • Please contact the team at  to clarify payment options and the 10% staff discount code.

Group enrolment of 5 or more from the same organisation: 15% discount

Group enrolment of 2-4 or more from the same organisation: 10% discount

To take up this offer, email with

  • your organisation’s name and ABN,
  • the course name and date and
  • the number of people in your group

How to apply your discount voucher 

  • If you are eligible for a UTS alumni or student discount, please ensure you have provided your UTS student number during checkout. If you are an alumni and have forgotten your UTS student number, email with your full name, UTS degree and year of commencement.   
  • Add this course to your cart  
  • Click on "View Cart" (blue shopping trolley at top right of screen). You will need to sign in or sign up to UTS Open  
  • Enter your eligible code beneath the "Have a voucher code?" prompt and click on the blue "Apply" button  
  • Verify your voucher code has been successfully applied before clicking on the blue "Checkout" button. 

Contact us


Disclaimer: this course does not constitute legal advice.

Who is this course for?

This course is well-suited to individuals with minimal knowledge of defamation laws or seeking to refresh their knowledge of defamation basics taking into account recent changes to the law. This encompasses a wide range of digital publishing and legal professionals, including, but not limited to:

  • Digital publishers, especially smaller organisations and non-profits
  • Communications specialists such as journalists and public relations officers
  • In-house marketing and public communications team
  • Writers
  • Social media influencers
  • Social media content moderators in schools, sports groups and publishers

Lawyers seeking an introduction to defamation risks in a digital environment.  

Book a session

Self paced
Expert: Professor Derek Wilding
  • Start anytime and complete at your own pace.
  • Online
  • 1 session, 2 hours total

This course will take approx. 2 hrs of self-directed learning to complete.

Acknowledgement of Country

UTS acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the Boorooberongal people of the Dharug Nation, the Bidiagal people and the Gamaygal people, upon whose ancestral lands our university stands. We would also like to pay respect to the Elders both past and present, acknowledging them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for these lands.