Monday, 29 December 2014

Government favoured Rupert Murdoch's media empire, says outgoing Ofcom chief

Government favoured Rupert Murdoch's media empire, says outgoing Ofcom chief - Press - Media - The Independent: "He said he felt vindicated by court rulings in the regulator’s favour and said Ofcom was right to press for greater consumer choice in the pay-TV sector, including changes to the terms on which Sky shares its sports content with other companies.

“What we set out to do was promote competition in the context of what was then a highly concentrated market and I think we have achieved that. I think there is now more choice, more competition and more retail innovation.”

He claimed that the litigation system was “out of kilter” and allowed large companies to exploit their financial and legal muscle to challenge Ofcom rulings.

“It’s a bit too easy to appeal the decisions, it’s a bit too easy to delay the effective decisions, a bit too easy for very large companies to throw money at litigation as a tactic, and I think that skews things against smaller companies,” he said." 'via Blog this'

Friday, 19 December 2014

Press Recognition Panel: Please tell us what you think

Press Recognition PanelPlease tell us what you think:

"We intend to adopt firm policies on them at our meeting on 27 February 2015 having taken into account the comments which we receive in the meantime.

If you have comments on any of these interim/proposed policies/procedures, then please email us by Friday 13 February 2015.

Please tell us if you agree with what we propose. If you disagree, then please tell us how you think we should do things differently.

We welcome comments from all individuals and organisations (including media organisations, campaign groups, and public bodies).

As part of our general commitment to proceeding in an open and transparent way, we will generally publish all the comments that we receive." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Tom Watson MP, Second Annual Leveson Lecture; Unfinished Business

News: Tom Watson MP, Second Annual Leveson Lecture; Unfinished Business – Tamsin Turk | Inforrm's Blog: "Areas for future parliamentary consideration: Tom Watson identified four main areas:

All political parties to comply with the Leveson recommendations concerning their members’ contact with senior journalists, editors and proprietors.

Ensure real plurality in the British news media with no market dominance that denies the public that plurality.

Protect the freedoms that true public interest journalism requires to promote democracy. For example, safeguarding the European Convention on Human Rights, amending the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (to safeguard journalists’ sources as per the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984) and bolster obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for more timely disclosure of information.

Fulfill assurances given to victims concerning press self-regulation, including manifesto commitment to take action on any ‘Failure Report’ produced by the Press Recognition Panel.

In conclusion, Tom Watson called for editors and proprietors to take note of public opinion. He said that standards of British journalism would be restored and that

“…as Lord Justice Leveson showed, this can and will be done while at the same time freedom of expression in this country is enhanced.”" 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

NYC cinema overrules MPAA rating for Snowden documentary

NYC theater overrules MPAA rating for Snowden documentary - Boing Boing: "Citizenfour, the acclaimed Laura Poitras documentary about Edward Snowden, has been given an R rating by the notoriously corrupt and opaque MPAA ratings board (see This Film Is Not Yet Rated).

The IFC Center theater in New York City isn't having any of it, and has posted a notice inviting high-school age patrons to come, especially those who might vote in the next election." 'via Blog this'

Case Comment: Sugar (Deceased) v BBC & Anor [2012] UKSC 4

Case Comment: Sugar (Deceased) v BBC & Anor [2012] UKSC 4 – UKSCBlog: "This case results from a freedom of information request made by Stephen Sugar (a London solicitor who is now deceased) in respect of the Balen Report, a report commissioned by the BBC into its own news coverage of the Middle East. The BBC refused to comply with the request, relying on the exception set out at Schedule 1 of the Act which states that the BBC is only compelled to disclose information “held for purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature”.

It was the BBC’s position that the Balen Report had been produced for the purpose of reviewing the journalistic coverage of Middle East affairs, and consequently fell outside the ambit of the BBC’s freedom of information obligations in accordance with Schedule 1." 'via Blog this'

Ben Emmerson QC: The bête noire of the right wing press with a 'leviathan intellect'

Ben Emmerson QC: The bête noire of the right wing press with a 'leviathan intellect' - Profiles - People - The Independent: " Emmerson laughs at the comparison with the trade union leader and brushes aside the debacle, simply stating that he is “philosophical” and remains a great supporter of the European court.

He is, he explains, troubled by the fact that some politicians seem at loggerheads with the ECHR, which despite finding in Britain's favour in most cases, has rattled cages back home by defying the UK on such high profile matters at Abu Qatada's deportation and the voting rights of prisoners.

“The European court has been, since its establishment, the most effective standard setting institution for human rights in the world, albeit in a limited geographical region. With the expansion of the Council of Europe to encompass many of the states of the former Soviet Union, its jurisdiction now covers 800 million people and extends across areas that are conflict torn,” he says, insisting that it’s Euros 60 million budget needs to be boosted.

 “It has become popular for UK government ministers to make public attacks on the judiciary about decisions they don't like. At the end of the day exaggerated attacks on the legitimacy of the court have the capacity to undermine respect for rule of law,” he warns.

“It is a frightening prospect. Attacks on the independence of the judiciary, once they begin, gain momentum and don't stop at an international level. The Supreme Court (the highest domestic court) still has the respect of the ordinary person in the street but it is a very short step from the type of gratuitous attack we have seen directed towards an international institution to a situation in which right wing politicians and newspapers start pointing guns against the senior independent judiciary of England and Wales.

“Politically motivated attacks on the independent judiciary could cause a real crisis of public confidence" 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Donovan v Gibbons: YouTube libel

Donovan v Gibbons: "As the claim was issued after 1 January 2014 it did not fall to be tried with a jury, therefore the issues could be decided by the Judge at an early stage, although, as the majority of the publications complained of took place in 2013 the issues were decided under the common law as it existed prior to the Defamation Act 2013.

 Shortly after the decision the case settled, with the Claimant securing damages, an apology and the payment of her legal costs.

This is another example of the way in which early rulings on meaning, and other issues traditionally the province of the jury, are likely to make libel claims quicker and cheaper." 'via Blog this'

Former Attorney-General destroys government case for Bill of Rights

Dominic Grieve speech at UCL: "I also note the most recent suggestion that a new Bill of Rights could be used to give greater protection to the Press. No detail has been given and I wonder if study has been made of the existing case law. From FT Ltd v UK in 2010 (821/03) on, there is ample authority to show that Article 10 rights are available to protect journalists particularly with reference to their sources. I will be interested to see what else is on offer. In any case it could be offered without any change to the HRA at all.

Indeed looking carefully at the paper my Party has produced on changing our relationship to the ECHR, I am struck by the paucity of concrete examples of Strasbourg mission creep that are identified, to justify a case for change." 'via Blog this'

Speaking extra-judicially - Lord Toulson on Strasbourg influence

Speaking extra-judicially - ICLR: "As in a later case, Kennedy v Information Commissioner [2014] UKSC 20;  [2014] 2 WLR 808, which Lord Toulson also discussed, the court reached its decision on the common law principles of open justice, and not on article 10 of the Human Rights Convention, in order to permit disclosure of documents to the media.  "However,

I am certainly not advocating that the European Convention should be ignored in the development of the common law. The expansion of the action for breach of confidentiality to include a partial law of privacy is a striking example of the Convention leading to a change in the common law which had been widely regarded as defective."  Compare Kaye v Robertson ([1990] EWCA Civ 21) [1991] FSR 62 with Campbell v MGN Ltd [2004] UKHL 22; [2004] 2 AC 457.

The Act only required the courts to “have regard” to Strasbourg decisions, not to “adhere slavishly to every Stasbourg decision even if after careful consideration they believe it to be wrong.”" 'via Blog this'

Social Media Law Conference - Attorney General on free speech online

IBC Legal Conferences’ 8th Annual Social Media Law Conference - Speeches - GOV.UK: "The final guidelines have been in place for over a year now and have been widely well-received. They make it clear that those messages that are not targeting an individual and are being considered solely on the basis that they contravene the criminal law because they are grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false, should be looked at very carefully.

 Prosecutors are required to take account of the context in which messages are posted on social media, particularly the fact that they are often uninhibited, casual and ill thought out and that those who participate know this and expect a certain amount of repartee or ‘give and take’.

 Prosecutors are also required to apply a high threshold when considering whether a case should be prosecuted and this must take account of the fact that a person’s right to freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and encompasses behaviour that offends, shocks or disturbs." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

European Parliament: REPORT on connected TV

Net neutrality in Europe: European Parliament: REPORT on connected TV - A7-0...: REPORT on connected TV - A7-0212/2013 : "Existing ‘Must-carry’ rules need to be supplemented with ‘Must-be-found’ rules. Those content ...

Emily Bell's seminal speech on the relationship between journalism and technology

Emily Bell's seminal speech on the relationship between journalism and technology: It's time to make up or break up - World News Publishing Focus by WAN-IFRA: "Instead of news executives enjoying monthly visits to the Googleplex to play around on the bicycles, they should convene serious forums about archiving, moderation, deletion, censorship, submission of user information to the authorities. These are all critical social issues at the heart of both fields.

 The second unfashionable and unpopular call would be for regulation. In the US President Obama's strong statement on net neutrality took many by surprise but is a welcome intervention. Journalism still has a powerful voice in influencing issues of regulation and it should use both its corporate presence and intellectual capital to surface and interrogate some of the issues we are seeing today.

 And the third and most achievable is report. Report, report, report. Cover technology as a human rights and political issue as if it were Parliament. Maybe even with more verve and clarity - were that possible. It is just as interesting and about ten thousand times more important. The beats of data, privacy and algorithmic accountability currently either don't exist or are inadequately staffed." 'via Blog this'