Sunday, 24 March 2013

Turkey's voting for censors - and banning good journalistic investigations

Turkey's voting for censors | Media | The Observer: "Milliyet published secret minutes of contacts between government emissaries and Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdish terrorist group the PKK. Turkey's PM erupted, as he is wont to do, and put the squeeze on Milliyet. Hasan, pictured, wrote a column defending the story. But the PM carried on erupting. "If this is journalism, down with it!" he cried. Hasan's column was frozen out for two weeks and then blanket-refused for publication. As he said: "I had underlined a fundamental principle of my profession … I argued that journalism and ruling a country are separate issues, and underscored the dividing line that sets them apart. " 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill 2013

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act (edit 24 June) "S.96 - Royal Charters: requirements for Parliamentary approval: Where a body is established by Royal Charter after 1 March 2013 with functions relating to the carrying on of an industry, no recommendation may be made to Her Majesty in Council to amend the body’s Charter or dissolve the body unless any requirements included in the Charter on the date it is granted for Parliament to approve the amendment or dissolution have been met." 'via Blog this'

Leveson implemented: Crime and Courts Bill 2013 Amendments

House of Commons Hansard Debates for 18 Mar 2013 (pt 0003): "an amendment will be made—I understand that it has been tabled in the [House of Lords] —to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill [2013] to ensure the statutory underpinning necessary to protect the royal charter vehicle from being arbitrarily changed in the Privy Council without reference to Parliament. Essentially, therefore, the programme motion before us ensures that the Leveson new clauses can be debated and added to the Crime and Courts Bill today." 'via Blog this'

Friday, 15 March 2013

A Salute to Bradley Manning, and an End to Assange's Case?

A Salute to Bradley Manning, Whistleblower, As We Hear His Words For The First Time - Boing Boing: "Manning, in saying he took responsibility for the leaks and describing in great detail how he did it, was able to say Julian Assange and Wikileaks had nothing to do with his decision to leak. WikiLeaks had not giving him any special means beyond what a normal newspaper would do. Now, there’s really now excuse for the grand jury chasing Julian Assange for conspiracy to commit espionage to continue. If they’re not going to indict the New York Times—and there is no constitutional basis for them to do so—there’s no reason for them to investigate or indict Assange or WikiLeaks. As the former general counsel of the New York Times James Goodale once said, “Charging Julian Assange with ‘conspiracy to commit espionage’ would effectively be setting a precedent with a charge that more accurately could be characterized as ‘conspiracy to commit journalism.’” 'via Blog this'

Satirical insult of head of state should not be a criminal offence: ECtHR Eon v. France

Satirical insult of head of state should not be a criminal offence, rules Strasbourg | UK Human Rights Blog: "The applicant recalled that the offence of insulting a foreign head of state under section 36 of the 1881 Act had been repealed following the delivery of the Strasbourg Court’s own judgment  in Colombani et al. France, No. 51279/99, ECHR 2002-V). In that judgment, the Court observed "…that, contrary to the common law of defamation, this offence does not allow applicants to assert the defence of justification, that is to say prove the veracity of their claims to be exempted from criminal liability. The absence of this defence means that this is an excessive measure to protect the reputation and rights of a person, even when it comes to a head of state or government."
In line with this reasoning, the applicant invited the Court to conclude that the offense of insulting the President of the Republic was contrary to the Convention for the same reason: it was impossible to rely on the exceptio veritatis." 'via Blog this'

Venezuela: Twitter user detained for spreading “destabilizing” information

Venezuela: Twitter user detained for spreading “destabilizing” information - Global Voices Advocacy: "The Minister also stated that Ortega will be processed under Venezuela's Computer Crimes Act [es]. Ortega may also be vulnerable to 2010 law forbidding all Internet content that “fosters unrest among the citizenship or disturbs public order.” 'via Blog this'

Monday, 11 March 2013

Revenge porn site founder loses $250k defamation suit

Revenge porn site founder loses $250k defamation suit | Ars Technica: "The larger battle is still ongoing, but Randazza scored a small, initial victory this weekend. In a Friday decision [PDF] at the Clark County, Nevada district court, Randazza Legal Group secured a $250,000 defamation judgment against IsAnyoneUp site founder, Hunter Moore. This particular defamation case was not related to Moore's revenge porn activities" 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 7 March 2013

House of Commons Amendments: Defamation Bill

House of Commons Amendments: "(1)   The Lord Chief Justice shall establish a Defamation Recognition Commission. (2)  Schedule (Recognition Commission) makes provision relating to the Defamation Recognition Commission. (3)  The Defamation Recognition Commission shall certify bodies as Independent Regulatory Boards in accordance with the criteria in Schedule (Recognition Commission). (4)  An Independent Regulatory Board shall provide a recognised arbitration service as set out in Schedule (Specialist Arbitration Service). (5) A court shall take into account when awarding costs and damages whether either party, claimant or defendant in a dispute has chosen not to use the recognised arbitration service of an Independent Regulatory Board." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Defamation bill set to be lost due to 'Leveson' clause

Defamation bill set to be lost due to 'Leveson' clause | Law | The Guardian: "Although there is cross-party support to reform the libel laws, the defamation bill has been caught up in the cross-party dispute over how to respond to the Leveson report. David Cameron set himself against introducing a press reform bill in response to Leveson, who last year proposed that a revamped Press Complaints Commission be audited by a statutory body. But with Labour and the Liberal Democrats supporting statute and the Conservatives taking time to develop an alternative model, the Lords passed Puttnam's amendment, which would establish a statutory recognition body and an arbiter for disputes." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Peter Fleischer (Google): A Glorious Day for a Free Internet in Italy

Peter Fleischer: Privacy...?: A Glorious Day for a Free Internet in Italy: "The Court's opinion is a lucid and ringing endorsement of the principles Google and I have been defending since the beginning of this prosecution 6 years ago: on Intermediary Liability:  The Court held that Internet platforms, like Google Video or YouTube, are not responsible for user-uploaded content, absent notice of inappropriate content.  These platforms also cannot—and should not—be required to pre-screen content that is uploaded to them.  Any efforts to pre-screen content would raise serious risks to users’ freedom of expression.  In the Court's own words:  
“Imposing a duty on or granting the power to, an internet provider to carry out prior screening seems to be a step that is to be afforded particularly careful consideration, given that it is not entirely free of risk due to the possibility of a conflict arising with the principles of freedom of expression of thought”." 'via Blog this'

Monday, 4 March 2013

Libel law reform Bill thrown into doubt

Libel law reform Bill thrown into doubt - UK Politics - UK - The Independent: "Lord Puttnam introduced changes to the legislation as a means of indicating the unhappiness in the Upper House at the failure of the Government to introduce proposals for press reform recommended by Lord Justice Leveson following his inquiry. But the Labour peer's amendment went further than Leveson and included plans for publishers to face "exemplary damages" and be answerable to a press regulator with statutory underpinning and an appointments panel headed by the Lord Chief Justice. The Defamation Bill returns to the House of Commons where Conservatives are determined to halt it in its present form." 'via Blog this'

Saturday, 2 March 2013

EMI Records Ltd & Ors v British Sky Broadcasting Ltd & Ors [2013] EWHC 379 (Ch)

EMI Records Ltd & Ors v British Sky Broadcasting Ltd & Ors [2013] EWHC 379 (Ch) (28 February 2013): "Turning to question 4, the Oberster Gerichtshof expresses concern at [4.1] that Courts in different Member States have reached different conclusions on the proportionality of blocking orders. It suggests at [4.2] that the question "should be judged in a uniform manner throughout Europe" in accordance with "guidelines for assessing the proportionality of specific blocking measures" laid down by the CJEU. I would respectfully suggest that, whether or not the CJEU accedes to the invitation to issue guidelines, the proportionality of a blocking order is bound to be a context-sensitive question. As I hope my judgments in 20C Fox v BT, Dramatico v Sky (No 2) and the present case demonstrate, this Court does not make such orders without thorough consideration of whether it is appropriate to make an order in the light of the specific facts of each case. Question 4 suggests that blocking orders "require not inconsiderable costs and can easily be circumvented without any special technical knowledge". I shall address these points in turn." 'via Blog this'

Guest Post: Constitutional Revenge in Hungary

Guest Post: Constitutional Revenge - "The Council of Europe just gave Hungary a clean bill of health on media regulation, but the mega-amendment adds more media restrictions. The mega-amendment says that during an election campaign, public media must give free time to political advertisements. So far, so good. But, a cardinal law may restrict political advertising in all other venues. Free speech protections are usually at their strongest when used in the exercise of democratic rights, and this amendment permits the limitation of free expression precisely during electoral campaigns." 'via Blog this'

Friday, 1 March 2013

The Dangerous Logic of the Bradley Manning Case

The Dangerous Logic of the Bradley Manning Case | New Republic: "Manning prosecution a clear and present danger to journalism in the national security arena. The guilty plea Manning offered could subject him to twenty years in prison—more than enough to deter future whistleblowers. But the prosecutors seem bent on using this case to push a novel and aggressive interpretation of the law that would arm the government with a much bigger stick to prosecute vaguely-defined national security leaks, a big stick that could threaten not just members of the military, but civilians too." 'via Blog this'

Tamiz v Google: Court of Appeal Judgment on Defamation Claim

Tamiz v Google: Court of Appeal Judgment on Defamation Claim: Lord Justice Richard:
"In the light of that concern about subsection (1)(c) I am not satisfied that, if Google Inc were found to be a publisher of the defamatory comments on Byrne v Deane principles, section 1 of the 1996 Act would provide it with an unassailable defence."
Having opened a window for the claimant on this, arguably the most interesting legal issue, the Court of Appeal then very firmly shut the door. It found that Eady J was certainly right in his view that, in any event, any liability of Google for the interim period between notification of the complaint and the removal of the comments was so trivial as not to justify the maintenance of the proceedings. But Google may well feel very nervous about its procedures in such cases and will not be entirely happy with this 'win'." 'via Blog this'