People should have the right to challenge news reports

Contrary to what Ms Louisa Lim, writing for The New York Times, seems to believe (How Australia became the defamation capital of the world, March 18), a journalist does not have the divine right to write whatever he likes without having to worry about being sued for defamation.

Every journalist should have the right to write and express his view on any subject of interest to the public, but the reporting must be able to withstand the law of the land when challenged.

And every person should have the right to challenge the report in court if he feels that the report is misleading, especially if the article questions his reputation and integrity.

To deny this would lead to the abuse of free speech.

Given the current proliferation of fake news, there is even more reason for Australia to uphold its laws to protect those who feel they are victimised by misleading media reports.

Lee Woon Kwang (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2019, with the headline 'People should have the right to challenge news reports'. Print Edition | Subscribe