The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog

Month: April 2013 (Page 1 of 5)

Defamation and Satire – Steven Price

Colin CraigMemo to anyone thinking of suing or threatening someone else for defamation after that person made fun of them. Don’t.

It’s not that the law clearly protects humorous speech and satire. That question is a bit vexed. It’s defamatory to say something that brings another person into ridicule. So it looks like that is fairly easily satisfied. Actually, those looks are deceptive. Continue reading

Freedom of expression loses in Swaziland case – Dario Milo

bheki-makhubu-smallLast week, the Swaziland High Court handed down a decision with grave implications for freedom of expression. The Nation magazine, an independent publisher, and its editor Bheki Makhubu were found guilty of the crime of contempt of court, fined 400,000 emalangeni (about £28,000), and ordered to pay half of the fine within three days of the decision or be imprisoned for two years.  Continue reading

Law and Media Round Up – 29 April 2013

Round Up 2013The biggest news of the week is that the Defamation Bill received Royal Assent and is now the Defamation Act 2013, three years after the publication of Lord Lester’s original Defamation Bill. Inforrm reported the news and context here; a commentary by Jo Glanville, director of English PEN, can be found here. Robert Sharp, also of English PEN, has dissected some of the detail here and here. A report in Belfast Telegraph reports that Index on Censorship is questioning Stormont’s decision to block the Act from becoming law in Northern Ireland. Continue reading

Media Reform Coalition: This press barons’ charter is neither independent nor fair

media-reform-banner-slide1 (1)On 25 April 2013 the rulers of Fleet Street  thumbed their nose at four months of negotiations, campaigns and public protests to propose a Royal Charter which suits their aims. This press barons’ charter not only replicates but actually worsens the problems they tried to get away with in February. It allows substantial influence by politicians and serious interference from the press in the appointment and recognition of the new regulator and neuters its powers to handle complaints. Continue reading

Libel News: Care companies bring action against Rochdale Council Leader

Rochdale MBCTwo care companies have issued libel proceedings against Rochdale Council and its Labour leader Colin Lambert after he said that the borough was the “wrong place” to put vulnerable youngsters in private care and that their safety was not being “guaranteed”.  The remarks were made last year after nine men were convicted for the illegal grooming of under age girls for sex in Rochdale. Continue reading

Does copyright control browsing? Meltwater in the UK Supreme Court – Graham Smith

nla1Back in July 2011 I commented on the Court of Appeal judgment in Newspaper Licensing Agency v Meltwater ([2011] EWCA Civ 890) and explained how the reach of digital copyright had accidentally been increased beyond that in the offline world.  That was as a result of accepting that transient and temporary copies created in computer memory count as copies for copyright purposes.  Continue reading

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