Monday, 23 September 2013

Senate panel approves measure to narrow definition of a journalist

Senate panel approves measure to narrow definition of a journalist   - NY Daily News: "The original bill would have extended protections to a "covered person" who investigates events and obtains material to disseminate news and information to the public. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a chief proponent of the medial shield legislation, worked with Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., as well as representatives from news organizations, on a compromise.
The protections would apply to "covered journalist," defined as an employee, independent contractor or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information. The individual would have to have been employed for one year within the last 20 or three months within the last five years. It would apply to student journalists or someone with a considerable amount of freelance work in the last five years. A federal judge also would have the discretion to declare an individual a "covered journalist," who would be granted the privileges of the law.
The compromise also says that information is only privileged if it is disseminated by a news medium, described as "newspaper, nonfiction book, wire service, news agency, news website, mobile application or other news or information service (whether distributed digitally or otherwise); news program, magazine or other periodical, whether in print, electronic or other format; or thorough television or radio broadcast ... or motion picture for public showing." While the definition covers traditional and online media, it draws the line at posts on Twitter, blogs or social media from non-journalists.The overall bill would protect reporters and news media organizations from being required to reveal the identities of confidential sources, but it does not grant an absolute privilege to journalists." 'via Blog this'

Access to Information as a Human Right in the Case Law of the ECtHR

ingentaconnect Access to Information as a Human Right in the Case Law of the Eur...: "The author examines whether the right to obtain information held by state or city authorities is considered to be a human right guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR, or 'the Convention'). The research question is studied by analysing the practice of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR, or 'the Court'). According to ECtHR case law, the right to obtain information may be based on Article 2 of the ECHR (guaranteeing the right to life), on Article 6 (guaranteeing fair trial), on Article 8 (guaranteeing the right to private and family life), and, finally, on Article 10 (guaranteeing freedom of expression). However, there is no general right to obtain information from public authorities and access official documents. The ECHR is still able to bring added value to many access-to-information cases. It brings the scrutiny and supervision of the ECtHR into play, and the Convention and the Court that interprets it set the minimum standard for publicity of information."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Net neutrality or not neutrality? The proposed regulation

Net neutrality or not neutrality? The proposed regulation on a European single market for electronic communications - Lexology: "In an effort to avoid the creation of a two-tier internet (i.e. a high-level quality tier and a degraded quality tier), the EC has included in its proposal a requirement that the provision of specialized services does not impair “in a recurring or continuous manner the general quality of internet access services.” However, such a safeguard appears to be rather loose. At what point is impairment considered to be recurring or continuous? And how is general quality of internet access defined in the first place?
In addition, the EC proposes to entrust to national regulatory authorities (NRAs) the responsibility of monitoring the situation in the various EU Member States and ensuring the continued availability of non-discriminatory internet access services at levels of quality that reflect advances in technology and that are not impaired by specialized services. Provided certain conditions are fulfilled, NRAs will also be empowered to impose minimum quality of service requirements on ISPs." 'via Blog this'

Leveson has been 'disastrous' says Guardian legal chief

Leveson has been 'disastrous' says Guardian legal chief | Press Gazette: "She also said that the use of Royal Charters – two rival versions of which have been submitted to the Queen’s Privy Council by politicians and the newspaper industry – was “medieval”. The Privy Council, a body made up of Government ministers, is currently examining the industry charter, with the version agreed by the three main political parties due to be considered later in the autumn if the former is not ratified. Phillips dismissed the use of the arcane body as a “medieval” tool that had been “used by monarchs to circumvent parliament”.
Phillips was particularly concerned by the provision in the parliament-backed Royal Charter for the establishment of a free arbitration service to decide damages claims against publishers. Echoing concerns previously expressed by many local and regional news groups, she said: “We are creating a charter for people with dodgy claims. People will be tempted to go and try and get some money.”
Phillips also said the danger of state intervention in the press had been highlighted by Miranda’s detention at Heathrow Airport for nine hours under the Terrorism Act." 'via Blog this'

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Medium Law

The future of the Internet is a non-trivial issue,11 in fact it is central to the future of productivity in most industries. It is an enabling technology, which means that the exchange of information on this open platform promises (and delivers) real efficiencies in the economy and society generally, as it helps collaboration and improvement.12 It is also socially enabling – whatever your view – for all the reasons encompassed in the expression ‘Web 2.0’ or ‘the participative web’.13 That is, it has become a virtual playground, classroom, laboratory and at its most basic – chatroom. The rise in the number of people using email, Facebook, MySpace, Wikipedia, Skype, Instant Messaging and other applications has extended so far into mass participation that it has truly affected society and the economy in all its facets. Children, in particular, are now ‘born digital’ in many locales in developed society,14 and their access to the consumer Internet is an essential part of their development, as Pew Internet surveys and others increasingly show. Moreover, small businesses and solo home-based workers depend on this tool as a vital part of their participation in the economy.15 The promise of virtual worlds and massive online collaboration (not just the Web, but online gaming, Wikipedia-type knowledge sharing and transfer and other avatar environments including over-hyped but fascinating poster child of digital life, SecondLife) is to extend this pervasive impact of online environments even further in the coming decade.

The Internet matters far more than television or radio or the simple telephone, whatever technology debunkers may continue to claim. Of course it is true that many collaborators and innovators use very powerful Internet connections at school, university and in office environments. However, much of their out-of-work collaboration, and creativity and innovation, take place using consumer Internet connections via desktop computers, laptops, netbooks and smart 3G mobile phones. Therefore, the question of what happens to their ‘domestic’ Internet connection is vital. Yes, it should be faster, but should this speed increase be entirely to guarantee the existing ISPs’ phone quality and video service? How much of the increase should be ‘open’ to all Internet traffic, and how much a toll lane for reserved high-speed signals? Note that this open question is posed in terms of proportion, not absolutes. I state immediately that I do not believe in social or economic justifications either for barring any proprietary high-speed traffic at all, or for strict versions of net neutrality that would not allow any traffic prioritization. It appears to me that there is too much at stake to either expect government to supplant the market in providing higher-speed connections or for the market to continue to deliver openness without the most basic of policy and regulatory backstops to ensure some growth.

Thursday, 12 September 2013


"44.  In the instant case the Court observes that the applicants wished to receive television programmes in Arabic and Farsi from their native country or region. That information included, for instance, political and social news that could be of particular interest to the applicants as immigrants from Iraq. Moreover, while such news might be the most important information protected by Article 10, the freedom to receive information does not extend only to reports of events of public concern, but covers in principle also cultural expressions as well as pure entertainment. The importance of the latter types of information should not be underestimated, especially for an immigrant family with three children, who may wish to maintain contact with the culture and language of their country of origin. The right at issue was therefore of particular importance to the applicants.
45.  It should be stressed that it has not been claimed that the applicants had any other means of receiving these or similar programmes at the time of the impugned decision than through the use of the satellite installation in question, nor that their satellite dish could be installed in a different location. They might have been able to obtain some news through foreign newspapers and radio programmes, but these sources of information only cover parts of what is available via television broadcasts and cannot in any way be equated with the latter. Moreover, it has not been shown that the landlord later installed broadband and internet access or other alternative means which gave the tenants in the building the possibility to receive these television programmes."

Monday, 9 September 2013

A Defence of Responsible Tweeting…?

A Defence of Responsible Tweeting… | Paul Bernal's Blog: "At a detailed level, the question I am asking is whether there should be a specific form of defence against defamation available for tweeters – a ‘defence of responsible tweeting’ – when tweeters have behaved ‘responsibly’ in terms that make sense for twitter, rather than for conventional journalism. As Alex Andreou asked in the New Statesman at the time, ‘Can every Twitter user be expected to fact check Newsnight?’" 'via Blog this'