One recent case saw the digital site BuzzFeed publish data about gambling on professional tennis matches, which was later used by a third party publisher to name players potentially involved in fixing matches. The independent publisher, a sports blogger, drew links to several pro players, including Australian Lleyton Hewitt (there was no evidence of any wrongdoing).
BuzzFeed’s article never cited specific player names, however, and this was important in MinterEllison’s defence of the media company’s decision to publish the data. MinterEllison’s media team, led by Peter Bartlett, successfully defended BuzzFeed against legal claims made by Hewitt’s lawyers.
Other noteworthy media matters focus on defamation and delve into reporting restrictions, contempt, non-publication orders and sub judice – or cases that are prohibited from being discussed outside of court.
In another high profile case, MinterEllison has been acting on behalf of Fairfax after West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle sued the company for publishing a series of articles that alleged he partially exposed his genitals to a female reporter. This was said to have happened in the change rooms during the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
The articles were published in the aftermath of Gayle making the now infamous ‘don't blush baby’ remark to female journalist Melanie McLaughlin live on national television, which attracted widespread interest and media attention around the world. This case is ongoing. Gayle denies the incident took place.
MinterEllison also acted on behalf of the AFL in its investigation into the Essendon Football Club's 2012 supplements program, and advised Racing Victoria regarding charges laid for misuse of cobalt against high profile horse racing trainers Peter Moody, Mark Kavanagh, Danny O'Brien and Lee and Shannon Hope.
Many of the cases involve sensitive investigative reporting, criminal matters and famous people, which not only require broad expertise in media law but a command of media production and formats in the digital era.