JUSTICE, the law reform and human rights charitable organisation, will be exploring developments in libel, privacy and freedom of expression online at an evening training course later this month. Speakers include: Rosemary Jay, Senior Attorney, Hunton & Williams; Ashley Hurst, Partner, Olswang LLP; Keith Mathieson, Partner, Reynolds Porter Chamberlain; Catrin Evans, One Brick Court; Hugh Tomlinson QC, Matrix: Emma Jelley, Google.
Life and Law Online: Defamation, freedom of expression and the web
- Tuesday 20 November 2012, 5 – 8pm
- Hunton & Williams, 30 St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8EP
- CPD accredited (2½ hours). Standard fee £50 (£45 to JUSTICE members)
- Booking at this link [Booking form PDF]
The explosion of social media is a boon to free expression and the exchange of ideas. Bloggers and tweeters challenge traditional media outlets. And most businesses use social networks as part of an online presence. The transformative power of accessible commentary and immediate communications was underlined by last year’s Arab Spring and August riots.
How has the law responded to this paradigm shift? The internet is not a lawless space – the rules that govern our conduct offline also stretch into cyberspace. But, the particular application of the general law to online behaviour raises new challenges. In a number of key areas, the law is evolving and new proposals have been made to govern and regulate our lives online.
Practitioners must know existing law and be mindful of new developments if they are to meet the needs of clients whose on- and offline lives are becoming increasingly interdependent.
Fast-changing case-law on online defamation has, in part, prompted the government’s Defamation Bill. The bill proposes new responsibilities for third party publishers – including web services and internet service providers. The proposals aim to strike a balance between the right to free expression and the right to individual privacy and reputation. They are not without controversy.