A New Proposal for a Press Adjudicator – Martin Moore

26 02 2012

On Friday the Financial Times reported(£) on a new proposal submitted to the Leveson Inquiry for a system to replace the Press Complaints Commission. The proposal is written by Hugh Tomlinson QC and emerged out of roundtable discussions organized by the Media Standards Trust, and the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University. At the round table discussions were senior newspaper figures, lawyers, academics, and those with long experience in broadcast news. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law: Cobain v Information Commissioner and CPS – journalists and the right to access information – Gervase de Wilde

26 02 2012

The Freedom of Information Act has become a powerful tool for journalists and campaigners at both local and national levels seeking to reveal the workings of the state. But those making requests can easily be stopped in their tracks by the exemptions it provides from the fundamental requirement to disclose official information. A decision in the First Tier of the Information Tribunal (Case No. EA/2011/0112 & 0113), given on February 8 2012, on an appeal against a ruling by the Information Commissioner, examined the extent of these exemptions in relation to criminal proceedings, and how they work for the press.

Read the rest of this entry »





News: Viagogo loses Channel 4 “Dispatches” injunction application

25 02 2012

On 22 February 2012 Mr Justice Hildyard dismissed an application by online secondary ticketing operator Viagogo for an injunction to restrain the broadcast of a Channel Four “Dispatches” programme.  On Thursday 23 February 2012, the Master of the Rolls refused Viagogo permission to appeal.  The programme, “The Great Ticket Scandal” was broadcast at 9pm that evening on Channel 4 and can be seen here on 4OD. Read the rest of this entry »





After the ‘for Neville’ email they decided to wipe the database – Brian Cathcart

24 02 2012

It takes quite a lot these days to make the conduct of News International in the phone hacking affair look any worse, but a new legal document published by the Daily Telegraph seems to do just that.

The High Court document summarizes common elements of the cases brought by recent civil litigants against the company, and it includes a remarkable passage dealing with what is described as News International’s ‘Email Deletion Policy.’ Read the rest of this entry »





News: New Proposal for Media Regulation Launched – Media Standards Authority

24 02 2012

The Financial Times has reported the launch of a radical and comprehensive new proposal for media regulation  – for a “Media Standards Authority”.  It is proposed that this new body would be independent of both government and the media and voluntary but with strong powers over members.  The body would have statutory underpinning with a system of incentives with legal backing to encourage participation.   Read the rest of this entry »





First they came for the journalists… Maria Roche

24 02 2012

News of the deaths of Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik and the serious injuries of photographer Paul Conroy and Edith Bouvier, a freelance journalist reporting for Le Figaro, from a mortar shell that hit the building in Homs, Syria that they were using as makeshift media centre has saddened and shocked reporters and readers. So does a sobering list of more than fifteen of their professional colleagues who have also died reporting the Arab Spring.  Worse still are reports that the journalists may have been deliberately targeted by the Syrian government forces.  It is a reminder that journalists are offered too little protection by international law. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law: Vejdeland and Others v. Sweden, Anti-Gay Hate Speech in Strasbourg – Alexandra Trimmer

23 02 2012

On 9 February 2012 the Court of Human Rights handed down a fascinating judgment on freedom of expression. Vejdeland and others v. Sweden is the first time that the Court has applied the principles relating to hate speech in the context of sexual orientation. A unanimous Court has ruled that Sweden did not violate the right to freedom of expression: the criminal conviction of the applicants for distributing leaflets that contained offensive statements about homosexuals did not breach the Convention. The judgment – which I will discuss below – is well worth reading, and so is the factsheet on hate speech that the Court has released on the occasion of this ruling. Read the rest of this entry »





John Terry, the England Football Captaincy: the Media and the Law

23 02 2012

The England football captaincy, its removal and the resulting resignation of the team’s manager has been the subject of considerable media attention in recent weeks. In the first week of February 2012 the media monitoring site, Journalisted, reported that John Terry’s loss of the England captaincy was the biggest story of the week – ahead of Stephen Hester’s bonus and Fred Goodwin’s former knighthood. In the second week, it counted 462 articles about Fabio Capello and his resignation over the captaincy issue.

Read the rest of this entry »





Michael Gove and the ‘dangers’ of Leveson: another sign of desperation – Brian Cathcart

22 02 2012

Like a man being swept down a river, they reach for every branch, however flimsy, and every rock, however small or slippery. In weeks and weeks they have not found one that will hold.

Editors and executives of national newspapers are losing the argument about their past conduct, about how they have allowed journalism to be debased, about how they have abused, libelled and intruded upon innocent people, and about how they have faked their own regulatory system. Their desperation is growing, and it shows. Read the rest of this entry »





News: Thornton v Telegraph Media Group, permission to appeal refused [Updated]

22 02 2012

The Court of Appeal yesterday dismissed the defendant’s renewed application for permission to appeal in the case of Thornton v Telegraph Media Group.  The defendant newspaper was unsuccessful at trial and, in a judgment handed down on 26 July 2011 ([2011] EWHC 1884 (QB)) was ordered to pay damages of  £65,000 for libel and malicious falsehood.  We had an Inforrm case comment at the time. Read the rest of this entry »