It’s old news, but for a moment last week newspapers and cafés were abuzz with speculation about the future of restaurant reviewers. A ruling by the High Court of Australia appeared — in media depictions — to establish that a now-defunct Sydney restaurant, Coco Roco, had been defamed by reviewer Matthew Evans of the Sydney Morning Herald.
I expected the food-blogosphere to erupt in outrage, given that many foodbloggers are doing their thing in order to tell cybernauts about their dining experiences. Nix. Nothing. Almost. With the exception of this and this, I haven’t seen other Australian foodblogs mention it. It didn’t even get mentioned in the Australian section of eGullet, despite a previous discussion about reviewing. If you Google relevant terms, you’ll discover that foreign media, forums and blogs have been rather more interested.
I can’t help but wonder just what Aussie review-genre foodbloggers are in it for.
As it happens, last week’s ruling is far from earth-shattering, being but one more step in the case. Wait until the outcome of further legal process in the New South Wales Supreme Court, where the newspaper will actually defend itself. A final negative outcome for the newspaper would have considerable implications for all who review — bloggers who review are of course open to litigation too. If you want to read more about the general issue of litigation and restaurant reviews, see this at cearta.ie.
UPDATE: I had overlooked this clear description of the case on eat-melbourne and (at last!) some online discussion.