The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog

Month: August 2012 (Page 1 of 4)

Australia: All set for the media tango, politicians versus proprietors – Katherine Murphy

All politics is local, goes the maxim. It’s a quaint notion in our globalised world, and yet it’s still substantially true. Here’s a case study to illustrate the point.  In Britain, after the phone hacking scandal and the Leveson inquiry, politicians from across the spectrum have tiptoed away from Rupert Murdoch. There has been collective self-criticism about how the political class should have been tougher, should have asserted more independence. Continue reading

Prince Harry’s Photos – Five Lessons for the Media Regulation Debate

As the froth dissipates it is worth reflecting on what lessons the saga of the Prince Harry photographs has for the media regulation debate. There is a natural tendency to conclude  that this is another passing “silly season” story – with as much wider significance as the Essex lion.  After all Prince Harry holds no public office and the invasions of his privacy were relatively minor in the scheme of things.  Such a conclusion would be too hasty.  The absurd affair of Prince Harry’s bum is nevertheless a very clear and illuminating example of what remains wrong with the tabloid press and, we suggest, provides five important lessons for the media regulation debate. Continue reading

US Freedom of Expression and Media Law round-up – 27 August 2012 – Gervase de Wilde

The boom in litigation which features social media, both as a means of publication, and where its use plays a part in other proceedings, continues throughout the American court system. This phenomenon was highlighted here when Northcliffe Media tried and failed, in a California court last month, to force Twitter to reveal the identity of an anonymous poster behind a spoof account. Judges at all levels grapple with the difficulties presented by new technology and their decisions, as evidenced in the links below, receive more comment and scrutiny than ever. Continue reading

The Sunday Times, bravery and press freedom – Brian Cathcart

The Sunday Times does not mince its words, with a leading article entitled ‘The Sun’s brave lone stand for press freedom’. Prince Harry, it declares, ‘has put the issue of press freedom squarely on the agenda’, and the Sun, by publishing pictures of him with his clothes off, had exposed the absurdity of a situation where ‘British newspaper readers have been deprived of information freely available to their counterparts overseas’. This, said the Sunday Times, recalled the abdication crisis and the Spycatcher case. Continue reading

Defamation: OFT closes investigation into whether companies using threats of defamation action “to quell legitimate criticism online” [updated]

The Office of Fair Trading has closed an investigation into “whether a group of companies, and solicitors acting on their behalf, were using threats of defamation action to quell legitimate criticism online”. It was examining whether that had been an infringement of the consumer protection legislation enforced by the OFT under the Enterprise Act 2002. Continue reading

Public interest and the Prince – the Sun fails the responsibility test

So, finally, the “Sun” has come up with a public interest argument to justify writing about and publishing illegally taken photographs of a party in a private hotel room.  Under the headline “We fight for press freedom” the “Sun” bootstraps for Britain – justifying its publication of private photographs by reference to the “debate” which it, and the rest of the media have generated. Continue reading

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