‘Free comment on private lives under the Defamation Bill’? – Gavin Phillipson

31 03 2012

Comment is free; facts are sacred runs CP Snow’s famous aphorism; a perusal of the comment section of blogs and online newspaper articles would suggest that there is usually greater enthusiasm shown for the expansive first part of this noble sentence than for its more sober and demanding second part. Read the rest of this entry »

McNae’s: still essential, 21 editions later – Judith Townend

30 03 2012

A journalist with no formal legal training gave his name to the industry’s media law “bible”.

Leonard McNae, 1902-1996, wrote the first Essential Law for Journalists for the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), which was published as a book in 1954, replacing the NUJ’s The Pressman and the Law by G.F.L. Bridgman of the Middle Temple. Read the rest of this entry »

Press regulation on a sinking ship – Rosalind English

30 03 2012

It was coincidental that the cricket libel case, Cairns v Modi and Lady Justice Arden’s speech on media intrusion and human rights “Striking the Balance” came out on the same day. 

Non-followers of cricket and non-followers of Twitter are equally bemused by the vastly frothed story about match-fixing allegations, but this was the first social networking libel to hit the libel courts in this country. Read the rest of this entry »

Case Law: KC v MGN, an offer of amends assessment at the top of the scale

29 03 2012

The father of “Baby P” was awarded compensation of £75,000 under the “offer of amends” procedure.  Judgment in the case of KC v MGN Ltd ([2012] EWHC 483 (QB)) was handed down on 5 March 2012.  Although the case was based on the publication of serious allegations the number of publishees was small and the award appears to be at the top of the scale.  The defendant made an unsuccessful application to the judge for permission to appeal. Read the rest of this entry »

CCMR Media Regulation Proposal – A “News Publishing Commission”

29 03 2012

The Co-ordinating Committee for Media Reform (“CCMR”) is a newly-formed umbrella organisation of advocacy groups, academics and individuals campaigning for meaningful reform of the UK media.  The CCMR recommends that a News Publishing Commission should be formed to replace the PCC. The commission’s composition and duties are described below. They would incorporate much of the existing good practice of the PCC as well as having additional responsibilities. Read the rest of this entry »

Case Law: Cairns v Modi – Defendant found liable for Twitter comments – Gervase de Wilde

28 03 2012

Chris Cairns’ claim against Lalit Modi has been one of the most high profile libel cases of the past 12 months. The public roles of both parties, the nature of the allegations, the events in question taking place in the context of a controversial offshoot of a popular international sport, the defamatory comments being made on the relatively new medium of Twitter – all this played a part in ensuring that the spotlight was on the litigation throughout. The claim and its defence, however, turned on a single question: was the Claimant a cheat? Read the rest of this entry »

Opinion: Let’s get over this terror of the word ‘statutory’ – Brian Cathcart

28 03 2012

So you’re in favour of the government taking control of newspapers, then?’ Thus Jeremy Paxman to Hugh Grant on Newsnight. And a moment later: ‘But you do want statutory regulation?’ And then again ‘So you would regulate newspapers?’  It is a time-honoured Paxman technique, and no one would argue with his right to employ it. Nor did Grant find it especially difficult to deal with, explaining calmly that there were all sorts of viable options between the two extremes of full-on state regulation and free-for-all. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Flood v Times Newspapers, Lord Mance’s Summary on Hand-down

27 03 2012

We commented last week on the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Flood v Times Newspapers ([2012] UKSC 11).  In addition to its judgment the Supreme Court provided its usual helpful Press Summary. There was a third explanation of the reasons for decision, provided by the author of the leading judgment, Lord Mance, at the time of hand-down.  Although this has not been published in written form, it can be seen on the You Tube clip below. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Tulisa “Sex tape”, further hearing – Ex-lover denies leaking tape

27 03 2012

A further hearing in the case of Contostavlos v Mendahun took place on Monday 26 March before Mr Justice Tugendhat.  The claim, brought by the singer and X-factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos, arises out the internet publication of a “sex tape”.  In a You Tube video posted last week the singer accused her former boyfriend, Justin Edwards (aka MC Ultra)(pictured) of leaking the tape.  He has, however, now filed a witness statement denying responsibility and attended the hearing on Monday. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions Report – steady as she goes on privacy, last chance for non-statutory media regulation

27 03 2012

The Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions, set up last July following “super-injunction spring”, has published its Report.  In the 59 page document the Committee comes out against a privacy statute and commends the approach now being taken by the courts.  Controversially, it supports the “PCC 2.0” approach to media regulation and suggests that, for the present, there should be no statutory backing for the new regulator. Read the rest of this entry »