Seeing as I have a hospitality background, and now work in PR and study journalism, this conflict story was of particular interest to me.
The owners of Sydney restaurant Coco Roco have lost a defamation case against restaurant critic Matthew Evans and Fairfax. In September 2003, Evans published a review in the Sydney Morning Herald, referring to the restaurant as ‘a shocker’, having unpalatable food, bad service, and rating it 9/20 – stay at home.
The judge found that the defence of truth was established, in relation to the bad service. The judge also found that the defence of comment was established: the ordinary reasonable reader would understand that the review was the opinion of the reviewer.
Story on the Australian website here.
So hooray to reviewers being able to publish honest reviews. And good on those who do. And those who actually adhere to the MEAA code of ethics and disclose conflicts of interest, and don’t review places they have an interest in, and pay for all their meals.
Unfortunately I know there are those who do exactly the opposite: writing glowing reviews of venues they have an interest in, and favouring reviewing places where they don’t have to pay for their meal.