A coroner has criticised the “sensational and salacious” press coverage of teacher Lucy Meadows, who killed herself in March, and called for the Government to implement the recommendations of the Leveson Report, as PA Mediapoint reports here.
The Daily Mail defended its column by Richard Littlejohn published in December 2012, which had commented on Meadows’ gender reassignment, as reported here by Pink News. The Mail reported the inquest here.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has published a call for evidence to look at the impact of the EU Cyber Security Directive on businesses in the UK [Lexology / Consultation (deadline 21 June – PDF].
A number of human rights lawyers have backed a campaign to ‘lose the lads’ mags’ warning “high-street retailers are exposing staff and, in some cases, customers to publications whose handling and display may breach equality legislation”, in an open letter in the Guardian. The campaign is being led by UK Feminista and Object.
A draft report on ‘internet-connected TV’ (PDF) for the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education suggests that a new regulatory regime is needed in light of increasing convergence of television and internet content, as Out-Law.com reports here. The European Parliament has a release here.
The Mail on Sunday has claimed that “legal reasons” have prevented it from disclosing the identities of a love affair “which could have serious political implications for David Cameron and his government“.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
The BBC has apologised for a Question Time production mistake, in which a Stormont minister was labelled on a seating plan for production use as a member of “Sinn Fein/IRA”. It was not broadcast, but an audience member tweeted a picture of the plan. The Mirror reports here.
The Guardian has amended a number of articles about Sir Christopher Geidt and his connection to the Royal Charter on press regulation, “to remove a number of inaccuracies” … “”which overstated his role as the Queen’s private secretary in relation to the royal charter for the press”. It states: “We have also clarified aspects of his legal action against John Pilger and Central Television. We apologise for the errors“.
Journalism and regulation
There is one new PCC adjudication to report: an Independent Sexual Violence Adviser at the Emerald Centre Sexual Assault Referral Centre, complained on behalf of a client of the Centre about an article published in the South Wales Argus in 2012. The article included details about her client that breached the terms of Clause 11 (Victims of sexual assault) of the Editors’ Code of Practice, the complainant said. The complaint was upheld and the full adjudication can be read here.
There are a number of resolved PCC cases to report: Lord Ahmed v Daily Mail, Clause 1, 31/05/2013; Mrs Melanie Taylor v Daily Mirror, Clause 1, 30/05/2013; Ms Rosie Fean v Daily Mail, Clause 1, 30/05/2013; A man v The Sun, Clause 1, 30/05/2013; Mr Iain Inglis v The Times, Clause 1, 30/05/2013; Ms Aileen Carney v Wigan Observer, Clauses 3, 6, 9, 12, 29/05/2013; Michaela Hewett on behalf of Nicki Myers v Daily Mail, Clauses 1, 5, 28/05/13.
Media law consultant and journalist David Banks has written a piece for Legal Cheek suggesting that “a working journalist in the UK probably deals with more law in a day than pretty much any other profession” … including lawyers.
Commentary, research & resources
- BBC Radio 4, Unreliable Evidence: How Free Is Our Speech? [First broadcast 29 May 2013]
- Stephen Pritchard, The Guardian, The readers’ editor on… protecting journalists’ sources
- Jack of Kent, The Law and Culture of Phone Hacking
- Campaign for Freedom of Information, Parliamentary motion on the Government’s proposed FOI restrictions [EDM 80]
- FoIMan: Campaign for the Campaign for Freedom of Information
- Recent law blog round ups by Charon QC: 1,2,3,4
- Call for Papers: Journal of Open Access to Law – JOAL
- Blog post: Valuing the BBC: A half day seminar at City University London
- Francis Fitzgibbon, Short Cuts, London Review of Books
- Vacancies at Privacy International
- Jeff Hermes, Digital Media Law Project, Who is a Journalist? Here We Go Again…
- HoldtheFrontPage: Woolwich and the law of contempt in the digital age
In the Courts
Last week was the legal vacation and there were no relevant court hearings.
3 June – 9 July 2013, Co-operatives UK and Carnegie UK Trust events on ‘Make your local news work’, various locations, UK.
4-7 June 2013, IFJ Congress 2013, Dublin.
8 June 2013, ORGCon2013 digital rights conference, Institute of Engineering and Technology, 2 Savoy Place, London WC2R 0BL.
10 June 2013, Caught in the web: how free are we online?, Kings Place, London.
17 June 2013, “Rally For Media Reform – Our Media, Not Theirs!”, the University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1.
24-25 June 2013, The Constitution of the Public Sphere: the post-Leveson Landscape (W G Hart Legal Workshop 2013), Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London.
17 September 2013, IBC Legal’s Protecting the Media 2013, London.
26-27 September 2013, Jersey Law Via the Internet 2013, Radisson Blu Hotel, Jersey
8-9 April 2014, “1984: Freedom and Censorship in the Media – Where Are We Now?“, Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sunderland
Know of any media law events happening in the next few months? Please let Inforrm know: email@example.com.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
India: Last week we noted that the publishers of the Times of India had been criticised for threatening to sue for defamation a 22 year old student legal blogger as a result of a post which comments on the Times Publishing House’s ongoing litigation with the Financial Times Ltd over a trademark dispute. The website that hosted the post, SpicyIP, has now responded with a “strongly worded” reply, as MLDI’s Peter Noorlander notes here.
Singapore: Singapore’s Media Development Authority (MDA) has announced plans for a new licensing scheme for news websites, as reported by the CPJ here. A number of website editors have called for the Ministry of Communications and Information to withdraw the licensing regime, which is due to come into effect from 1 June, in this open letter.
South Africa: It is reported that President Jacob Zuma has withdrawn all his outstanding defamation cases against the media in South Africa. This is the President’s News Release explaining the withdrawal.
Uganda: The Daily Monitor newspaper has reopened, after it was closed by the authorities for more than a week. The BBC reports here.
United States: The Freedom of the Press Foundation reports that is has not managed – via its media partners – to obtain press passes for court stenographers to accompany reporters at the Bradley Manning court martial. The organisation has been fundraising for the stenographers’ services.
Next week in the courts
The Trinity legal term starts on 4 June 2013.
On that day Tugendhat J will give judgment following the pre-trial review in the case of Cruddas v Calvert. There will be a further hearing in the case of Fox v Boulter, before Bean J.
Next week in Parliament
Monday 3 June 2013, 2.30pm, Parliamentary debate – Impact of cuts in legal aid on access to justice – Baroness Deech, Main Chamber, House of Lords.
Wednesday 5 June 2013, 3pm, Legislation – Offender Rehabilitation Bill [HL] – Committee of the whole House – Lord McNally, Main Chamber, House of Lords.
The following reserved judgments after public hearings remain outstanding:
Euromoney plc v Aviation News Ltd heard 2 May 2013 (Tugendhat J)
Fox v Boulter, heard 15 May 2013 (Bean J)
Hunt v Times Newspapers, heard 29 and 30 April, 1-3, 7-10, 13, 16 and 17 May 2013 (Simon J)
Also on Inforrm last week
- Leveson, Arbitration and the Local Press: Three Misconceptions – Hugh Tomlinson QC
- Event Report: A Talk by Strasbourg Judge Boštjan Zupančič on Privacy and Freedom of the Press
- Case Comment: R (M) v Parole Board – No anonymity for convicted child killer – Edward Craven
- Google’s brave new world – Dina Shiloh
- Event: “Our Media, Not Theirs – Rally for Media Reform” – Media Reform Coalition
- Case Law, Strasbourg: OOO “Vesti” v Russia, defamation judgment in favour of public official, no Article 10 violation – Hugh Tomlinson QC
- Can you help the Campaign for Freedom of Information? Urgent Appeal for Funds – Evan Harris
- The Daily Mail, Independent Regulation and Double Standards
This week’s Round Up was compiled for Inforrm by Judith Townend, a freelance journalist and PhD researcher examining legal restraints on the media, who runs the Meeja Law blog. She is @jtownend on Twitter. Please send suggestions, tips and event listings for inclusion in future round ups to firstname.lastname@example.org.