The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog

Month: June 2010 (Page 1 of 5)

Lord Lester’s Defamation Bill – Explanatory Notes

The “Explanatory Notes” to Lord Lester’s Defamation Bill have been made available.  Such notes are mandatory for all public acts which result from Bills introduced into either House of Parliament by a Government Minister since 1999.  The text is usually produced by the Government Department responsible for the subject matter of the Act. The purpose of Explanatory Notes is to make the Act of Parliament accessible to readers who are not legally qualified and who have no specialised knowledge of the matters dealt with. Continue reading

Opinion: “Prior notification in privacy cases – A response to Andrew Scott” by Max Mosley

As a participant, but not an academic, perhaps I might be allowed to comment on Andrew Scott’s very interesting contribution to the debate on prior notification.

His two principal arguments are, first, our application to the ECtHR is founded on a false premise, namely  damages can never be an adequate remedy for breach of privacy;  second, even if breach of privacy is irreparable, there are many examples of irreparable damage which the law compensates with damages, so damages can suffice even though privacy, once breached, can never be restored. Continue reading

Case Law: Fiddes Court of Appeal judgment

The Court of Appeal has, today, given its reasons for the dismissal of the Fiddes mode of trial appeal.   The judgment of the court in Fiddes v Channel Four ([2010] EWCA Civ 730) was given by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger.  We have already posted on the decision of the Court of Appeal and the settlement of the case on the first day of the trial.  The decision provides a useful summary of the position in relation to “mode of trial” in libel cases. Continue reading

Supreme Court – Media get Permission to Intervene

As we mentioned on 11 June 2010, Associated Newspapers Limited and Times Newspapers Limited sought permission to intervene in the forthcoming Supreme Court fair comment appeal of Spiller v Joseph (involving the Motown tribute band, the “Gillettes”, pictured right).  On 17 June 2010, Guardian News and Media Limited also applied to intervene.  On 21 June 2010, the solicitors for the respondents wrote to the court indicating that they opposed the application on the grounds that it would increase costs and as the interveners were seeking to advance similar arguments to the appellants, effectively “ganging up” on the claimants. Continue reading

Opinion: “The Roberts Court’s Free Speech Problem” – David Cole

On January 21, in its first decision of this term, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court’s five-member conservative majority announced that the First Amendment bars Congress from imposing even mild constraints on the ways corporations can employ their vast financial resources to drown out the voices of ordinary people in federal election campaigns. On June 21, in one of its last decisions of the term, Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, the same majority, this time joined by Justice John Paul Stevens, ruled that the First Amendment permits Congress to imprison human rights activists for up to fifteen years merely for advising militant organizations on ways to reject violence and pursue their disputes through lawful means. Continue reading

Opinion: “Lord Lester’s defamation bill should be more radical” – Siobhain Butterworth

Media defence lawyers and others hoping for a radical overhaul of libel law are likely to be disappointed by Lord Lester’s defamation bill, but not bitterly. Speaking at the Libel Reform campaign‘s launch of his proposed legislation this week, Lester said: “I wanted a bill that is a fair balance between the right of free speech on the one hand and the right to a good reputation on the other.” No one is going to quarrel with that. Continue reading

Opinion: “Some comments on proposals for reform of laws governing freedom of expression and the media in Europe” – Alastair Mullis

In the last couple of years, calls for reform of the laws that restrict and / or prevent the media and others from publishing articles on matters of public interest have become increasingly insistent. In the UK, a very successful campaign spear-headed by Index on Censorship and English Pen has been demanding reform to the English law of defamation. Continue reading

Opinion: “Prior Notification in privacy cases: contesting a false premise” – Andrew Scott

Lawyers acting for Max Mosley have recently published their response to the arguments presented to the Strasbourg court by various intervening media groups and by the UK Government. They argue that “a fundamental misconception” underlies their opponents’ perspectives [2]; that there is a blinkered insistence on Article 10 rights to media freedom to the exclusion of any respect for privacy. On its terms, this is a persuasive argument. If there is a basic error, however, it lies on the side of the applicant. Continue reading

US Freedom of Expression and Media Law Roundup 25 June 2010

The debate on the “death of libel” continues with a post by Matthew Belloni on “The Hollywood Report” on the question as to whether  the internet is killing libel lawsuits.  He suggests that this has indeed happened and that this is because the internet has provided an outlet for the defamed to fight back and that, with the ability to correct stories online, so that libel disputes are getting resolved before litigation. Continue reading

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