Mark Polden


(02) 9236 8620


With a breadth and depth of experience and contacts across the media built up over 25 years, Mark Polden has advised and appeared both for and against Australia’s leading television networks and print media.

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 also appears for and advises local government authorities, trade unions, corporations, and individuals in managing their reputational related risks in defamation, breach of confidence and other common law and statutory actions, particularly in the context of state and union elections and internet and social media campaigns. He specialises in dealing with closed court applications and non-publication orders. 


After 6 years in the Media Law practice group at Mallesons Stephen Jacques, now King & Wood Mallesons, Mark took up a senior in-house role at John Fairfax Publications, now Fairfax Media Ltd (ASX:FXJ), for the best part of 20 years. During that period, Mark represented joint print and electronic media interests in negotiations with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Federal and State Attorneys-General over proposed changes to sedition laws and the development and implementation of the Uniform Defamation Acts (2005).


Areas of Practice


Contempt of Court



Film & Television

Freedom of Information

Media & Communications

Pre-Publication Advice


Public Interest Immunity


Reserve Commission, Royal Australian Navy

Member, Advisory Committee, Australian Law Reform Commission’s Reference on Sedition (2006)

Long-standing member of NSW Law Society’s Litigation Law and Practice Committee.

Former Chair, NSW Soccer Federation General Purposes Tribunal

Former Member, Australian Soccer Federation Appeals Tribunal


Bachelor of Laws, University of NSW - Prizes in Media Law and Constitutional & Administrative Law

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 in 2009 appeared as Counsel for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre against the Department of Defence, advising the Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. and the U.K. All Party Parliamentary Group on Special Rendition, and obtaining the release of significant documents relating to Australia’s involvement in international prisoner transfer and rendition.

Mark has been called to give evidence before numerous Parliamentary Committees, including the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration on the Freedom of Information (Removal of Conclusive Certificates and Other Matters) Bill 2008. 



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).

Production Credits

Features and telemovies

Animal Kingdom – Porchlight Films; Screen Australia; Screen NSW; Film Victoria; Showtime Australia; Sony Pictures Classics

Devil’s Dust – Fremantle Media; Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Never Tear Us Apart (INXS) – Shine Australia; Seven Network

Schapelle – Fremantle Media; Nine Network

House of Bond – Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder; Nine Network

Hoges (the Paul Hogan story) – Fremantle Media; Seven Network

Blue Murder Two – EmdemolShine Australia; Seven Network

Catching Milat – Shine Australia; Seven Network

House of Hancock – Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder; Nine Network

Underground (the Julian Assange story) - McLeay William; Network Ten

Peter Brock – Shine Australia; Network Ten

Return to the Devil’s Playground -  Matchbox Pictures; Showcase

Magazine Wars – Southern Star, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Power Games - Southern Star, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Mary – Making of a Princess – Southern Star; Network Ten

Now Add Honey – Gristmill Productions; Film Australia

Credence (the Maria Korp Story); Playmaker Media; Nine Network

Sundowner – Cordell Jigsaw; Nine Network

TV Formats

Upper Middle Bogan – Gristmill Productions; Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Gogglebox – Shine Australia; Network Ten

Recruits: Paramedics – Network Ten

Fireys – Endemol Australia; Network Ten