The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog

Month: October 2010 (Page 1 of 5)

Opinion: “The price of online discussions” – Siobhain Butterworth

An unusually high award of damages has been made against a US website because of defamatory comments made on a discussion thread, but what is it really worth?

There is no disputing that a £50,000 award of damages, made against the US website Digital Trends earlier this month for defamatory comments in two online discussion threads, is “unusually high” as Eversheds, the claimant’s lawyers, put it in their press release. But what is the true value of this judgment? The website didn’t acknowledge or defend the proceedings in London’s high court and there is a plump question mark over its enforceability in America. Continue reading

Revisited: “Defamation Damages USA and England Compared”

In this feature we revisit older posts which remain of current interest. In this post from March 2010 we compare the defamation damages awarded by courts in the USA and England.

The US publication, the National Law Journal has an interesting report on the “Top Verdicts” of 2009, setting out the total sums awarded by way of damages by US courts in 2009 for the top causes of action.  Continue reading

“Is there a right to reputation?” Part 2 – Heather Rogers QC

This is the  concluding part of a paper delivered at the JUSTICE/Sweet and Maxwell Human Rights conference on 20 October 2010.  The first part was posted on 26 October 2010.

The Strasbourg developments in relation to Article 8 and reputation have found their way into domestic law. Under the Human Rights Act 1998 (“HRA”) the court is required to have regard to Strasbourg jurisprudence and, as a public authority, must not act in a way that is incompatible with Convention rights.  Continue reading

News: Investigative Journalism Award Nominations

We draw our readers’ attention to the nominations which have been announced for two awards for investigative journalism – said to be a dying art but, on the evidence of the material unearthed by the nominees for the two awards, still in very good health.  As blogging amateurs we pay tribute to the professionals in the vital investigation business.  As Roy Greenslade says a piece in Tuesday’s “Evening Standard” under the headline “Investigative journalism is still thriving in the internet era”, celebrating both awards, “the people who best help to hold power to account are the diggers and delvers who work for Britain’s press“. Continue reading

Matrix Media Update – 28 October 2010

This is a Media Law Update covering the last week prepared by the Legal Information Team at Matrix Chambers, which they have kindly agreed to make available to readers of Inforrm.

Latest Cases

Saliyev v Russia (App No 35016/03), ECtHR – 21 Oct 2010.  The case concerned the withdrawal from sale of copies of a municipally owned weekly newspaper at the request of the editor-in-chief on account of the politically sensitive content of an article – violation of ECHR, art 10. For the press release, see here. Continue reading

“Protecting Privacy in Court Proceedings” – Mark Thomson

The development of privacy law in England has generated difficult issues concerning the balance between  the privacy rights of claimants and the principles of open justice.  These have been thrown into sharp relief by the controversy over the use of “super injunctions” – which provide strong privacy protection but prevent public scrutiny of the decision making process.  Other more limited methods of privacy protection have been considered in recent case law.  First of all it is necessary  to look at the basic common law and Convention principles of open justice. Continue reading

“Is there a right to reputation?” Part 1 – Heather Rogers QC

This is the first part of a paper delivered at the JUSTICE/Sweet and Maxwell Human Rights conference on 20 October 2010.  The second, concluding part, will be posted later in the week.

In dealing with the question “Is there a right to reputation?” it is appropriate to start with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, promulgated by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1948. That gives a clear “yes” since Article 12 provides that  “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks”. Continue reading

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