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ICO consulting on possible data protection code of practice for the press

February 19th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Data, Legal

ICO consultation doc data protection

Last week the Information Commissioner’s Office launched a “short public consultation” on proposals for a code of practice for the press in the Data Protection Act.

According to the ICO website this follows a recommendation from Lord Justice Leveson for the ICO to “prepare and issue comprehensive good practice guidelines and advice on appropriate principles and standards to be observed by the press in the processing of personal data”.

The consultation was sent out last week, and closes on Friday 15 March. The ICO website states:

This short public consultation on the likely scope and content of the proposed ICO code of practice is an important first step in ensuring our stakeholders have an opportunity to let us know their views and engage in constructive dialogue to develop a common understanding of how data protection legislation applies to the media. This will be followed by a full public consultation on the code itself.

In the consultation document the ICO adds:

The code will not contain any new legal duties – the purpose of such codes is to promote good practice and observance of the requirements of the Data Protection Act by data controllers. Depending upon decisions by the government about possible reform of the law, this guidance may require further review. However, we accept that it is important to produce guidance now, as recommended by Lord Justice Leveson.

Hatip: International Forum for Responsible Media blog.

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#Tip of the day for journalists – lots of ideas for FOI requests

January 14th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Legal, Top tips for journalists
Image by Digitzedchaos on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Image by Digitzedchaos on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Claire Miller from Media Wales has compiled a list of almost 500 different subjects to inspire local and regional news outlets when thinking of ideas for Freedom of Information requests, on her blog.

She created the list using requests featured on Trinity Mirror colleague David Higgerson’s blog. In an update to the piece Miller adds that “some of the information in the ideas listed below will already be available elsewhere”. She also recommended the FOI Man site for pointers on submitting FOI requests.

She also highlights that “the list is set up from the point of view of how Welsh public bodies are organised”.

f you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link.

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How to respond to consultation on website operators clause of draft defamation bill

January 8th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Legal
Houses_of_Parliament_Flickr1.jpg_resized_460_

Image by alancleaver_2000 on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

An informal consultation on the section of the draft defamation bill that covers “operators of websites” has been launched to gather feedback.

According to The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog, the consultation relates to clause 5 of the bill which intends to “provide a new defence for website operators in circumstances where the claimant can pursue his claim for defamation against the person who posted the statement”.

The consultation, being run by the Ministry of Justice, will close on Thursday 31 January (the deadline has been extended).

Those who wish to respond can do so by emailing defamation@justice.gsi.gov.uk for more information.

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#Tip of the day for journalists: Legal refresh for journalists, with digital in mind

November 23rd, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Legal, Top tips for journalists

Image by Wiertz Sebastien on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

In a post on his Online Journalism Blog, Paul Bradshaw runs through seven laws – beyond libel, privacy, contempt – which may not be the first which spring to mind for journalists, but are important to know, such as when it comes to digital publishing. These include issues such as copyright, data protection, freedom of information and discrimination and hate speech legislation.

See his full post for more detail on the impacts of each of these laws.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link.

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#Tip of the day for journalists: Be careful what you tweet and retweet

Image by shawncampbell on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Image by shawncampbell on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

The fact that Lord McAlpine’s lawyers have said they will sue for defamation those who tweeted or retweeted the name of the former Conservative party treasurer in reference to the Newsnight allegations highlights the pitfalls of sharing such information on social media.

Richard Kendall, web and social media editor for the Peterborough Telegraph, has blogged about it.

He reminds journalists:

When you post online on social networks or blogs, you become a publisher and those publications “are subject to the same laws as those of professional publishers, such as newspapers”.

The post is at this link.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link.

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Media release: Libel reform campaigners respond to Queen’s Speech

May 9th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Legal, Politics

The Libel Reform Campaign announced a “victory” today as the Queen’s Speech confirmed legislation will be introduced in the next 12 months to reform defamation law.

The campaign issued a number of comments from those involved in the campaign, some of which are listed below:

Tracey Brown, managing director, Sense About Science:

We and thousands of others have campaigned to stop the libel laws’ bullying and chilling effects on discussions about health, scientific research, consumer safety, history and human rights. We are really pleased to see the government has moved closer to honouring its promise of a fairer law and protection of free speech in today’s Queen’s Speech. This opens the way to developing a law guided by public interest not powerful interests.

Simon Singh, defendant in British Chiropractic Association v Singh:

I continue to be contacted by journalists, scientists and others who are being silenced by libel threats or libel claims. The reform promised in the Queen’s speech today is a welcome response to the intolerable effects of the current laws. I hope that the government will now move rapidly to bring forward a bill that protects those writing about serious matters in the public interest.

Jo Glanville, editor, Index on Censorship:

We have now have a chance for libel legislation that’s fit for the  21st century. The introduction of the single publication rule and greater protection for internet service providers will help to put an  end to the chilling effect online.

Justine Roberts, co-founder and CEO, Mumsnet:

While the draft Defamation Bill was a very good start, it didn’t go far enough to protect freedom of expression, particularly in the online environment. Websites and hosts of user-generated comment risk becoming tactical targets for those who wish to clamp down on criticism or investigation of their activities.

Philip Campbell PhD, editor-in-chief, Nature:

It is essential to the public trust in science that scientific integrity is upheld and that bad behaviour is brought to light. It is therefore imperative that libel legislation be revised to achieve a better balance of interests between those accused of misconduct and those who should be better able to write about them.

Hardeep Singh, journalist and libel defendant:

The inclusion of the defamation bill in the Queen’s Speech marks a major milestone for The Libel Reform Campaign. It can’t be right that ordinary people risk their livelihoods when getting caught up in costly libel proceedings.

The government has already investigated ways to weed out unmeritorious claims, whereby claimants will have to show serious harm before a case progresses. If passed by Parliament, these types of amendments will not only make our libel laws fairer, but go some way in restoring London’s reputation from being a ‘town called sue’.

Till Sommer, Internet Service Providers Association:

ISPA welcomes the Government’s commitment to libel reform. The current regulatory framework has failed to provide clarity to hosting and Internet service providers and has ultimately has had a chilling effect on freedom of speech online. We hope that Parliament will address the current shortcomings in the upcoming session and we will follow the political process closely to ensure that the reforms strike the best possible compromise between protecting providers, claimants and authors.

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Norwegian tabloid newspaper offers readers a ‘Breivik-free’ online edition

April 19th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Legal, Online Journalism

Dagbladet, Norway’s second-largest tabloid newspaper, is offering its readers a ‘Breivik-free’ version of their website during the trial of Anders Behring Breivik.

By pressing a button at the top of the homepage marked “Forside uten 22. juli-saken”, readers can remove all mention of the high-profile trial.

Torry Pedersen, editor-in-chief of Verdens Gang, a Norwegian tabloid, told Journalisten.no that his paper considered the idea of having a similar button.

We toyed with the idea. We did the same – inspired by the Guardian – for the Prince’s wedding last year.

The Guardian’s liveblog of the Royal wedding in April 2011 featured a button on the home page which removed all coverage, leaving the reader with just the “proper news”.

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Friday deadline for core participant status for next Leveson inquiry module

March 26th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Legal

The judge leading the public inquiry into press ethics has called for applications for core participant status for module three of the Leveson inquiry, which will look at the relationship between the press and politicians.

Lord Justice Leveson is currently hearing module two of the inquiry, the relationship between the press and police, having heard evidence for module one, the relationship between the press and the public.

According to an announcement on the inquiry website applications for core participant status - which allows participants to be legally represented at the inquiry and have questions asked on their behalf – must be made by the end of Friday (30 March).

These applications and other issues will be considered at a directions hearing for module three to be held at 2pm on Tuesday, 2 April.

Module four will look at “recommendations for a more effective policy and regulation that supports the integrity and freedom of the press while encouraging the highest ethical standards”.

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Privacy injunction statistics published by Ministry of Justice as part of new pilot scheme

March 19th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Legal

On Thursday last week the Ministry of Justice published a new report of “experimental” statistics relating to the processing of privacy injunctions at the High Court or Court of Appeal. This follows a recommendation by the Master of the Rolls committee.

The statistics relate to injunctions dealt with in any civil proceedings in the High Court or Court of Appeal in London where the court considers an application for an injunction prohibiting the publication of private or confidential information, the continuation of such an injunction, or an appeal against the grant or refusal of such an injunction.

The report shows that from August to December last year there were four proceedings in the High Court which “considered an application for a new interim injunction”, three where the court “considered whether to continue or amend an interim injunction which had previously been granted” and two where the proceedings involved a consideration of “whether to issue a final, permanent injunction”.

The statistics do not cover injunctions arising from proceedings dealing with family issues, immigration or asylum issues, to proceedings which raise issues of national security, nor to most proceedings dealing with intellectual property and employment issues.

The four applications for new interim injunctions were all said to have been granted by the court.

At the Court of Appeal one further proceeding was also recorded involving “an appeal against a grant or refusal of an interim or final injunction”.

According to the International Forum for Responsible Media (Inforrm) blog, which has looked at the statistics in more detail here, “none of these cases appear to have involved threatened media publication” as “no media defendants were joined”.

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Met police representatives and crime reporters before Leveson inquiry this week

March 12th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Legal

Copyright: Sean Dempsey/PA

The Leveson inquiry moves into week three of module two today, starting with evidence from Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick of the Metropolitan Police and Sir Dennis O’Connor, head of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.

On Tuesday Dick Fedorcio, director of communications at the Met Police, will give appear before the inquiry.

It is expected that Fedorcio will be asked about his relationship with journalists at News International and also about the advice he gave senior officers on socialising with journalists.

On Wednesday morning Jeff Edwards, representing the Crime Reporters’ Association, will give evidence, along with journalists from the Guardian, the Independent and the Times. A written statement from a Daily Telegraph journalist will be read.

On the last day of this week’s hearings evidence will be heard from the Sun’s Mike Sullivan, who was named in the press as one of four current and former journalists at the Sun arrested and bailed by officers from Operation Elveden on Saturday, 28 January.

See the full witness list here.

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