The Inforrm blog is taking a break from regular posting over Easter. The English law courts are closed until 9 April 2013, the House of Commons is not sitting again until 15 April 2013, and the House of Lords until 22 April 2013. Inforrm will have a more modest break – until 8 April 2013. Continue reading
On 22 April 2013 the Grand Chamber of the Court of Human Rights will hand down judgment in the “political communication” case of Animal Defenders International v United Kingdom. The case was heard over a year ago, on 7 March 2012. The case concerns the ban on the broadcasting of political advertising in sections 319 and 321 of the Communications Act 2003 which the applicant contends is a violation of its Article 10 right to freedom of expression. Continue reading
Media law judge Mrs Justice Sharp was among ten new appointments to the Court of Appeal which were announced yesterday. She was one of the small number of High Court judges who regularly deal with defamation and privacy cases, having practised at the Bar from the specialist media law chambers 1 Brick Court.
An exchange in Monday’s House of Lords debate on the new press regulation clauses in the Crime and Courts Bill revealed a little-noticed – and no doubt to some, astonishing – aspect of the proposed system: it covers foreign publishers. Continue reading
In the case of Monis v The Queen ( HCA 14) the High Court of Australia considered familiar issues concerning offensive communications and freedom of expression. The defendant, Man Haron Monis, is alleged to have written letters to the families of soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan. While expressing sympathy to the families, the letters were critical of Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan and of the soldiers and the part they had played in the war, referring to the soldiers in ‘a denigrating and derogatory fashion’. Continue reading
On 22 March 2013 the European Commission launched two public consultations, open until 14 June 2013. The consultations formalise a debate started by recommendations made in January 2013 by an independent High Level Group (HLG) on Media Freedom and Pluralism convened by the Commission. Continue reading
There has, over the last few months, been widespread criticism from the press of Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations about exemplary damages. These recommendations have been widely misreported and misunderstood. Many have been misled by words like “punitive” and “fines” into thinking that such damages would be imposed as a matter of routine on publishers who make mistakes. In fact, properly understood, exemplary damages are the best available approach for protecting the rights of victims and public interest journalism. Continue reading
The New Zealand Law Commission has today released its report ” “The News Media Meets New Media: Rights, Responsibilities and Regulation in the Digital Age.” The report recommends the establishment of a “News Media Standards Authority” (NMSA) to provide a one-stop shop for adjudicating complaints against all news media. Membership would be voluntary but would bring significant benefits. Continue reading
Lord Justice Leveson’s “inquisitorial” arbitration scheme for media claims is moving closer to implementation. The word inquisitorial conjures up images of medieval magistrates acting as prosecutor and jury, and the scheme was recently criticised by David Allen Green in The New Statesman as leaving parties with “no safeguards”. Is this concern justified? Continue reading
In a recent post on the Media Standards Trust website I wrote that eight consecutive opinion polls have shown that the press has been completely out of step with public opinion on press reform. That number can now be revised up to nine, after another Sunday Times/YouGov poll (full results here) shows that the public favours the proposals for the reform of press regulation.