Wednesday, 27 February 2013

For whom the libel tolls: government loses even as it wins » For whom the libel tolls: government loses even as it wins: "defamation law was never a very convincing test of truth. Under English-style common law, words with defamatory meaning are presumed to be false. This means that the plaintiff does not have to prove that he was innocent of the allegations. It is up to the defendant to prove that his accusations were true – extremely difficult when dealing with the inner workings of government or big business." 'via Blog this'

Monday, 25 February 2013

Nominet sues businessman over chief executive 'libel'

Nominet sues businessman over chief executive 'libel' - Telegraph: "Mr Wingate posted his video on his website and on YouTube, which blocked access to it from Britain in November following a complaint from Nominet. He has since moved his website to a host in China in an attempt to resist further attempts to censor it. Acknowledging Nominet’s libel claim, Mr Wingate said he was prepared to fight in court. “I fully believe in the independence of the High Court and that they will agree with my right as member of Nominet and a business owner to raise legitimate concerns I have made about individuals. I have not attacked Nominet's reputation as a company. I have attacked her [Mrs Cowley’s] leadership and her conduct. I am fully prepared to justify all my allegations in a court of law.”" 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Facebook Wins Legal Battle Which Means Europeans Have to Use Real Names Online

Facebook Wins Legal Battle Which Means Europeans Have to Use Real Names Online: "After a German court ruled Facebook couldn't force people to use their real, full names, a successful appeal from Facebook in another German court rules it can. The result? You're stuck using your real name on Facebook. The court ruled that, as Facebook's EU headquarters and data processing centres are in Ireland, only Irish law applies. In effect, the German court has contradicted itself saying German law doesn't apply here. The irony is that all the data processing is seemingly done in the US anyway, and not in the EU" 'via Blog this'

Monday, 18 February 2013

Article 19 and the Human Rights Committee’s General Comment No 34

Freedom of Expression: Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Human Rights Committee’s General Comment No 34: "Freedom of Expression: Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Human Rights Committee’s General Comment No 34 - Michael O’Flaherty* The article opines that the Human Rights Committee has interpreted Article 19 in a manner that favours a wide enjoyment of free expression and that it has applied the restriction clauses narrowly. The jurisprudence, inevitably, only addresses a small range of issues and, notwithstanding the many additional indications to be found in the Committee’s Concluding Observations, there remain areas of uncertainty regarding the scope and application of the Article. Thus was set the context, in 2009, for the Committee’s decision to develop a new General Comment on Article 19.'via Blog this'

Copyright vs Freedom of Expression ECtHR Judgment

ECHR BLOG: Copyright vs Freedom of Expression Judgment: ECtHR (5th section), 10 January 2013, Ashby Donald and others v. France, 36769/08"
"It is... no longer sufficient to justify a sanction or any other judicial order restricting one’s artistic or journalistic freedom of expression on the basis that a copyright law provision has been infringed. Neither is it sufficient to consider that the unauthorised use, reproduction or public communication of a work cannot rely on one of the narrowly interpreted exceptions in the copyright law itself, including the application of the so-called three-step test (art. 5.5 EU Directive 2001/29 of 22 May 2001). The European Court’s judgment of 10 January 2013 in the case of Ashby Donald and others v. France unambiguously declares Article 10 of the Convention applicable in copyright cases interfering with the right of freedom of expression and information of others, adding an external human rights perspective to the justification of copyright enforcement. Due to the important wide margin of appreciation available to the national authorities in this particular case, the impact of Article 10 however is very modest and minimal." 'via Blog this'

Friday, 15 February 2013

Ecuador: Official Misrepresents Human Rights Watch Position

Ecuador: Official Misrepresents Human Rights Watch Position | Human Rights Watch: "By using criminal defamation laws and requesting damages and fines amounting to millions of dollars against its critics, the administration of President Rafael Correa has repeatedly violated international human rights standards and basic values of democratic societies, Human Rights Watch said during the meeting. Human Rights Watch also strongly questioned the Ecuadorian government's efforts to export its policies against free expression by initiating an international campaign to discredit the work of the Organization of American States’ special rapporteur for freedom of expression.
During the meeting, the Ecuadorian delegation conceded that the country's criminal defamation laws – including the ones used against the critics of Correa – are problematic and ought to be repealed. " 'via Blog this'

Monday, 11 February 2013

Pope Benedict’s history of censorship

Pope Benedict’s history of censorship | THE FREE SPEECH BLOG: "Previous to becoming Pope in 2005, Ratzinger had been head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith — previously known as the Holy Office, and before that the Sacred Congregation of the Inquisition...The Holy Office had, in 1917, absorbed the Sacred Congregation of the Index. This was the body responsible for the maintenance of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum — the list of books and authors the Vatican prohibited Catholics from reading. This list, started after approval at the Council of Trent in the 16th century, contained authors from Giordano Bruno to Jean Paul Satre.
The Index was last updated in 1948. It’s very existence became an issue for debate during the discussions of the Second Vatican Council. One of the main proponents of retaining the Index of banned books was Cardinal Frings, formerly the Archbishop of Cologne. Frings’s “Peritus” (theological consultant) during Vatican Two was Joseph Ratzinger. Frings and Ratzinger failed, and the Index Librorum Prohibitorum was abolished in 1966." 'via Blog this'

Monday, 4 February 2013

Lords Hansard 17 Jan 2013 - Committee on Defamation Bill 2013

Lords Hansard text for 17 Jan 201317 Jan 2013 (pt 0001): "President Obama did precisely the same thing that I am about to say that we did to the Malaysia and Singapore. In that Act, we kept the double-action ability rule in place but only for libel proceedings. The effect is that the Defamation Bill, when it becomes law, will provide the British standard; anybody coming from another country and seeking to use the defamation law coercively will have, under the double-action ability rule, to satisfy the standard anyway of the Defamation Act, including the Defamation Act being read with the constitutional and conventional right to free speech. So there will already be very strong reasons in public policy why such a person will not get very far if they seek abusively to bring libel proceedings in those circumstances.
I mention President Obama because, before we had this Bill, when the common law was notoriously chilling on free speech, the noble Lord, Lord Singh, may remember that the Congress of the United States did something pretty rude to us and provided that English libel judgments were unenforceable in the United States on similar grounds. That is my way of trying to explain that we already have defensive mechanisms in our system that would be enforceable to deal with the kind of abuse with which the noble Lord, Lord Singh, is rightly concerned.'via Blog this'

Bill stages — Defamation Bill 2012-13 — UK Parliament

Bill stages — Defamation Bill 2012-13 — UK Parliament: Note that the Defamation Bill is likely to become legislation by about March 2013: "Report stage: House of Lords 05.02.2013
3rd reading: House of Lords 25.02.2013" 'via Blog this'

Google and Online Liability

Google and Online Liability: "In Tamiz v Google [2012] EWHC 449 (QB), it was decided that an unrepresented claimant could not proceed to discovery and trial on the basis that the web site service provider was not a publisher at common law. This goes further than even a service provider could have hoped. If the original decision is correct, one wonders why there is a need for the three defences in the eCommerce Directive at all. The ground has also shifted since the original hearing before Eady J. Mr Tamiz obtained representation. There has been a public and political sea-change in perceptions in relation to the media and the Internet (eg hacking, trolls, invasions of Royal privacy, abuse, suicides, etc.). Case law has also advanced, especially in other jurisdictions. It is instructive to look at the approaches elsewhere to similar and related issues. " 'via Blog this'

Friday, 1 February 2013

Was Leveson Wrong under Article 10 to Reject a Statutory Right of Reply?

Was Leveson Wrong to Reject a Statutory Right of Reply? | LSE Media Policy Project: "In his Report Lord Justice Leveson considered and rejected a proposal that there should be a statutory right of reply or correction. This was a proposal made by the Media Regulation Roundtable in its evidence to the Inquiry. His reasons for rejecting this proposal are unconvincing. An important opportunity has been missed. Such a right would provide a valuable additional incentive to the membership of a “Leveson compliant” self-regulatory body. In addition, Lord Justice Leveson fails to engage with the point – which he himself recognises – that Article 10 and other international obligations may, in any event, require the UK government to provide a statutory right of reply." 'via Blog this'

How to create a new law to recognise a 'regulator' of UK newspapers?

LSE Media Policy Project: "The Leveson Report proposed that a body was needed that would monitor the functioning of a new self-regulatory mechanism for the press. The purpose would be to “recognise and certify” the new body and report every few years as to whether or not it was doing its job. Leveson had suggested that Ofcom be the institution to play that role. Harriet Harman confirmed in Oxford that cross-party talks had generated consensus against that suggestion. The various proposals on the table contain different ideas for what kind of body should play that role instead of Ofcom.  The Hacked Off Campaign, which has put its proposed bill out for consultation, suggests a voluntary “recognition commission” that would certify the new press self-regulatory body at the outset and could revoke this certification if it doesn’t measure up. The Labour Party’s draft bill published in December calls for a “recognition panel” in the form of a High Court. The Government is expected to propose a solution that involves a Royal Charter, but this has not yet been made public." 'via Blog this'