Australia’s highest court handed down a landmark ruling on Tuesday that critics said would hamper freedom of speech on the Internet and force publishers to handle online material more cautiously.

In what is believed to be a world first, the High Court said online publishers could be sued for defamation in the place where their material is viewed, not the country of origin where it is uploaded.

The court unanimously dismissed an appeal by international news service Dow Jones to have a defamation action brought by mining magnate Joseph Gutnick heard in the United States, rather than Australia. More here.