What role will broadcasting law continue to play in elections? – Jacob Rowbottom

21 11 2019

In recent elections, the legal framework for regulating campaigns has come under considerable strain. The rules were built around a system in which national campaign communications were mainly carried through the broadcast and print media. The last comprehensive reform of election finance law was enacted in 2000. The framework left a number of old problems unresolved, such as the role of big donors. Read the rest of this entry »

Citizen journalists, standards of care, and the public interest defence in defamation – Jacob Rowbottom

18 12 2018

The public interest defence under section 4 of the Defamation Act 2013 replaced the old defence of Reynolds privilege. A number of cases have since established that the old criteria for responsible journalism under Reynolds is still relevant when assessing the reasonable belief requirement of the new defence. Read the rest of this entry »

If digital intermediaries are to be regulated, how should it be done? – Jacob Rowbottom

19 07 2018

The regulation of digital intermediaries has been an increasingly high-profile issue. Earlier this month, The Times called for the creation of a statutory regulator – which they would call Ofnet – ‘to protect internet users from harmful content and the monopolistic behaviour of the biggest online names’. Read the rest of this entry »

Beyond publication offences: informal censorship and the chain of communication – Jacob Rowbottom

13 07 2018

Various legal controls that are imposed on publishers provide a central focus in the study of media law. When teaching the subject, the core topics on the syllabus look at the liability of publishers in criminal law and tort law. These controls remain significant, but there appears to be a declining use of this method of control in some areas of law. Last year, when writing an article about the law of obscenity, Read the rest of this entry »

Lord Justice Laws, Miranda and the Democratic Justification for Expression – Jacob Rowbottom

24 02 2014

David Miranda 2The Divisional Court’s decision in the David Miranda case has provoked much controversy and debate about freedom of the press and national security issues. About halfway through his judgment, Laws LJ makes a number of comments about the justifications for freedom of expression and media freedom. Read the rest of this entry »

Defamation Act 2013: The public interest defence and digital communications – Jacob Rowbottom

30 01 2014

DigitalThe Defamation Act 2013 replaces Reynolds privilege with a new defence of ‘publication on matter of public interest’.  On one view, the statutory defence aims to provide a broader protection for expression than was previously found under the common law. Read the rest of this entry »

A surprise ruling? Strasbourg upholds the ban on paid political ads on TV and Radio – Jacob Rowbottom

23 04 2013

animaldefendersThe European Court of Human Rights has given its decision in Animal Defenders International, holding that the ban on political advertising on the broadcast media does not violate Article 10. I had been convinced that the Strasbourg Court, following earlier decisions in cases involveing Switzerland and Norway, would come to the opposite conclusion – but I am relieved that they did not. Read the rest of this entry »

Leveson, the Press and the Separation of Powers – Jacob Rowbottom

6 03 2013

jacob.rowbottomLast Friday I heard Lord Hoffmann give the annual Neill lecture in Oxford, talking about the separation of powers. One of his points was that there had been too much fuss about the ‘breaches’ of the separation of powers that existed prior to the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. Lord Hoffmann argued that the old role of the Lord Chancellor sitting in Cabinet did not threaten judicial independence. Read the rest of this entry »

Campaign Lies and the First Amendment – Jacob Rowbottom

11 11 2012

It is now a tradition that during an America presidential election year, commentators shall declare the campaigns to be the ‘nastiest’ and ‘dirtiest’ ever. It is difficult to know whether such a claim is true of the 2012 election, as tough campaigning has a long history in the USA (as a recent NY Times article explains). Read the rest of this entry »