Mark Polden

With a breadth and depth of experience and contacts across the media landscape spanning 30 years, Mark has advised and appeared both for and against Australia’s leading television networks, print media and on-line publishers.Mark commenced practice at a private top tier media law practice group, followed by 15 years at a listed media company concentrating on pre-publication advice, and in managing and directing complex litigation across multiple jurisdictions.

Having returned to private practice at the NSW Bar in 2009, Mark advises and regularly appears for Australia’s leading national publications, commercial and public broadcasters, independent film producers, and international film and television production companies.

Mark advises local government authorities, trade unions, board members, larger corporations, and members of government in managing their reputational and related risks, particularly in the context of elections, internet and social media campaigns and public inquiries. He specialises in dealing with closed court applications and non-publication orders.

With an intimate working knowledge of the media and regulatory landscape, Mark is available to provide commercial pre-publication and risk management advice on a round the clock basis, including urgent conflict referrals, and can provide legal sign off for funding and insurance purposes on feature films, television productions and books at all stages of project development and funding.


Kazal v Thunder Studios Inc (California) [2017] FCAFC 111 (Full Federal Court)
Injunction on behalf of two US clients restraining on-line publications emanating from the US and the Netherlands, and material posted on vans in the Sydney CBD.

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union v Queensland Newspapers Limited (Supreme Court of Queensland 3407/17)
Breach of confidence proceedings against a major national publisher; return of internal and external audit documents and accounting records; undertakings not to publish.

O’Brien v Australian Broadcasting Corporation [2016] NSWSC 1289 (15 September 2016)
Successful defence of defamation proceedings brought against a public broadcaster by an investigative journalist employed by a major national print media conglomerate.

Baboolal v Fairfax Digital Australia and New Zealand Pty Ltd & Ors [2015] QSC 196
Verdict for the plaintiff in the Queensland Supreme Court for a medical specialist against a major national publisher over a series of on-line articles and reader posts.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation v Local Court of NSW [2014] NSWSC 239
Successful appeal to the Supreme Court setting aside non-publication and suppression orders made in connection with a murder trial and child death report.

Mark has given evidence before numerous Parliamentary Committees, including the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration.

Former Appointments

  • Advisory Committee, ALRC: Sedition
  • Chair, NSW Soccer Federation General Purposes Tribunal
  • Member, Australian Soccer Federation Appeals Tribunal
  • NSW Law Society Litigation Law and Practice Committee


  • Co-author with Prof. Mark Pearson, The Journalist’s Guide to Media Law: A handbook for communicators in a digital world (Allen & Unwin, 5th edn, 2014).

Educational Background

  • Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor Laws, University of NSW
  • Stephen Jaques Stone James Prize in Media Law
  • Stephen Jaques Stone James Prize in Constitutional & Administrative Law
  • Media Law Advocates Training Program, Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy, Oxford

Professional Interests

In 2006 Mark took time off, sponsored by the Soros Foundation, to complete the Media Law Advocates Training Program in the Program for Comparative Media Law and Policy at Oxford University.

In 2008 and 2009 he advised on a series of criminal libel trials in Amman, Jordan, on behalf of the New York and London based Media Law Resource Centre.

Mark has travelled to Papua New Guinea on behalf of the British Council to train indigenous journalists, and appeared as Counsel for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre against the Department of Defence, obtaining the release of significant documents relating to Australia’s involvement in international prisoner transfer and rendition.

Conference Papers and Lectures

Commonwealth Press Union
Media Law for Journalists – Papua New Guinea

Arts Law Centre of Australia
Freedom of expression or creative abuse: Defamation & Photography

University of New South Wales – City Art Institute
Cultural property, ethics and the law

University of Sydney
Journalists’ Ethics and the Law

Selected Submissions

  • Review of the Listening Devices Act (NSW) 2001
  • NSW Law Reform Commission Report 98 (2001) – Surveillance: Interim Report
  • Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Amendment Bill 2001 (NSW)
  • Criminal Code Amendment (Espionage and Related Activities) Bill 2002 (Cth)
  • 314 Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW) (Criminal Procedure Amendment (Justices and Local Courts) Act 2001 (NSW) (2003 amendments).
  • 11 Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 (NSW) (2004 amendments)
  • Freedom of Information Amendment (Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence) Bill (NSW)
  • Model Defamation Laws and Defamation Acts 2005
  • Anti-terrorism Bill (No 2) 2005 (Cth)
  • Review of Access to Court Documents (NSW) 2006
  • Freedom of Information (Removal of Conclusive Certificates and Other Measures) Bill 2008
  • Model Spent Convictions Bill (NSW) 2009