Freedom of expression: is filming the police in public a fundamental right? – Hugh Tomlinson QC

31 08 2011

As a number of recent cases have made clear, the filming of policing activity in public places is a vital method of holding police to account.  But there have been continuing tensions between the police and photographers over filming police activity.

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Law and Media Round Up – 30 August 2011

30 08 2011

The last week was a quiet one for media lawyers.  The “phone hacking” saga continues to generate comment and generate new stories.   The Independent reports that more than 120 police officers are now investigating claims of illegal news gathering by News International.  This includes 50 officers from Strathclyde Police assigned to “Operation Rubicon”, its investigation into allegations of perjury involving former News of the World editor Andy Coulson and wider claims of phone hacking aimed at public figures in Scotland. Read the rest of this entry »

New Publication: Family Courts’ Guide to Media Access and Reporting

29 08 2011

In July 2011, the Family Courts in conjunction with the Judicial College and the Society of Editors published a “Guide to Media Access and Reporting“, written by barristers, Adam Wolanski and Kate Wilson with a Preface by Sir Nicholas Wall and Bob Satchwell.

The guide seeks to draw together a number of interlocking and overlapping statutes, rules and common law principles which affect the ability of the media to inform the public about family proceedings.    It is intended for the use of journalists, judges and practitioners. Read the rest of this entry »

Opinion: “The ‘Benefits’ of Press Self-Regulation” – Julian Petley

28 08 2011

Earlier this week, we published a post by Julian Petley which argued that the Press Complaints Comission was not fit for purpose, and that what is required is an effective system of press regulation devised from scratch. The PCC subsequently published a response to that article, which can be found on their website. Here, Professor Petley provides his reply to the PCC. Read the rest of this entry »

Opinion: “Can jurors in the internet age avoid being in contempt of court?” – Alex Bailin QC

27 08 2011

Joanne Fraill

The Sun and the Daily Mirror have been found guilty of contempt of court over their coverage of the arrest of Chris Jefferies, Yeates’ landlord, who was later released without charge (see our post here). Joanne Fraill contacted the defendant in the case on which she was a juror via Facebook. She was later tried and found guilty of contempt of court. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Online defamation cases “double”, defamation claims decline by 47%

26 08 2011

There have been a number of reports today based on some research by Sweet & Maxwell into defamation cases.  The Guardian headline is “Rise in defamation cases involving blogs and Twitter” while the “Independent” tells readers “Online libel cases double“.  This does not give the full picture. Read the rest of this entry »

Hemming and Haigh: Freedom of Speech and Abuse of Privilege

26 08 2011

On Wednesday 24 August 2011 we posted about the judgment of the High Court in a contempt case against “investigator” Elizabeth Watson who had been working for Vicky Haigh, a woman identified in the House of Commons on 26 April 2011 by John Hemming MP. Read the rest of this entry »

Opinion: “Press Regulation? – Now There’s an Idea” – Julian Petley

26 08 2011

When the Leveson Enquiry was announced in July, the Press Complaints Commission immediately stated its intentionto review its own constitution and funding arrangements, the range of sanctions available to it, and its practical independence’. This, it said, would be a ‘key contribution to the inquiry’, adding that it Read the rest of this entry »

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”: Censorship or Self-Restraint? – the “DA Notice” system

25 08 2011

DA Notice Committee

There was a time when journalists and campaigners were up in arms about the system of “D-Notices” – warnings issued to the media not to report on matters concerning national security.   Over recent years, as “spy stories” have largely disappeared from the press, the committee which issues these notices – which has renamed itself the “DA-Notice” Committee – has fallen back into relative obscurity.  This is, perhaps, where it would prefer to remain.   Read the rest of this entry »

News: Hemming MP’s “super injunction victim” named as sex abuse fabricator

24 08 2011

On 26 April 2011, on a point of order but in apparent breach of a High Court injunction, Mr John Hemming MP claimed that Vicky Haigh, a horse trainer and former jockey, “was the subject of an attempt by Doncaster council to imprison her for speaking at a meeting in Parliament“.  A number of Twitter accounts subsequently disclosed that the injunction had been granted in family proceedings in which Ms Haigh had claimed that her former partner, David Tune, was a paedophile who had abused their daughter for some years. Read the rest of this entry »