The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog

Month: February 2012 (Page 1 of 6)

Teflon Rupert escapes the Fred the Shred treatment – Brian Cathcart

What does it take to get a corporate scandal on to the front pages of the mass-circulation papers? Business, after all, is abstract and dull, and you don’t sell tabloids with abstract and dull. What you need, by and large, is a bogey-man, a human lightning rod for outrage and mockery. Think Gerald Ratner or Ernest Saunders. Think Tony Hayward of BP. Think Fred the Shred. Continue reading

When is being in public, private? – David Rolph

A person’s expectation of privacy in a public place has been given new focus in a recent European Court of Human Rights judgment involving Princess Caroline of Monaco. Media law academic Dr David Rolph looks at the decision, and the implications for Australia The recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Von Hannover v Germany (No 2) has raised the issue of expectations of privacy in public places. Continue reading

News Media and “New Media” – New Zealand Law Commission Consultation on Regulation

The Law Commission of New Zealand is undertaking a review of the current regulatory regime for news media with respect to its adequacy in catering for new and emerging forms of news media – sometimes referred to as the “new media”.  It published a comprehensive “Issues Paper” [Word] for consultation on 12 December 2011.  Responses are required by 12 March 2012 and can be made online. Continue reading

A load of hype? The phone hacking scandal may be bigger than we thought – Brian Cathcart

Yesterday was a day of breathtaking Leveson revelations. Here is one: on or just before 16 September 2006 Rebekah Brooks received a phone call from a police officer who briefed her at length about the phone hacking investigation then under way.

By that time (although they would insist otherwise for years) the Metropolitan Police already knew that hacking had been conducted on an industrial scale and that several News of the World staff were probably involved, but Brooks was assured in that call that only one reporter would be prosecuted and that her company would not be troubled further. Continue reading

Freedom of the press and statutory regulation – lessons from Finland?

The “Reporters without Borders” latest “Worldwide Press Freedom Index” for 2011-2012” has been referred to in the press on a number of occasions recently – and we had a post about Trevor Kavanagh’s reliance on it.   Another interesting point which emerges from this Index concerns the joint number 1 country, Finland.   As a number of commentators have pointed out Finland has – in common with a number of other highly ranked countries – a system of self-regulation for the press (see, for example, this post on  It is, however, interesting to note that Finland also has a statutory framework for the exercise of freedom of expression by the media.  Continue reading

The police knew it all in 2006 but they hid their knowledge. Why? – Brian Cathcart

Some history has been rewritten for us this morning at the Leveson inquiry. For years we have been given to understand that the material seized from Glenn Mulcaire in August 2006 was confused and barely penetrable. The Metropolitan Police were slow to realise the scale and depth of the hacking problem, it was always said, because they didn’t know. And they didn’t know in large measure because they did not spare the resources required to work through three bin bags of chaotic and obscurely-written paperwork. Continue reading

Grand Chamber Seeks to Clarify Balancing of Article 10 and Article 8 – Rónán Ó Fathaigh

The Grand Chamber of the European Court delivered two judgments recently concerning the appropriate balancing exercise where there is a conflict between the right to freedom of expression and the right to respect for private life. The judgments in Von Hannover (No. 2) v. Germany and Axel Springer v. Germany both concerned publication by newspapers of various details of well-know figures. Of the two, Axel Springer is arguably of more significance, and resulted in a divided Grand Chamber (12-5 majority) finding a violation of Article 10. Continue reading

Case Law: Sugar v BBC, battle for the Balen Report results in bitter sweet BBC victory – Sara Mansoori and Claire Darwin

In the long-running case of Sugar (Deceased) v British Broadcasting Corporation [2012] UKSC 4, the Supreme Court had to determine to what extent the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the Act”) applies to information held by the BBC for journalistic purposes. This was the second time that the case had reached the highest court, the first time being in February 2009 when the House of Lords allowed Mr Sugar’s appeal and held that even in relation to a FOI request that was beyond the scope of the Act, the BBC remained a public authority for the purposes of the Act. Continue reading

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