Exam date

When's the 2016 exam? Wednesday 8th June, am.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Lord McAlpine's tweet libel case

This is maybe the most famous of all the Twitter libel cases, arguably because one of the many defendants, Sally Bercow, is so loathed by the right-wing press (flak aplenty!). She's the wife of the Commons Speaker, a Tory MP seen as too liberal by most of his own party.
Sally Bercow ended 6 months of denying a libel charge by settling the court case brought against her by Lord McAlpine for this tweet:

Monday, 20 May 2013

Sun in Clause 1 Accuracy PCC complaint

Hardly shocking to hear the words inaccurate and The Sun combined, but this is a good example for what it highlights about the serious deficiences of the PCC, but also (as the press wish to retain power over 'corrections') potentially its successor too.
The Sun admitted to making up a story about Huhne (or at least, that it couldn't produce ANY evidence to backing up the 'story'). It didn't apologise, and its 'correction' ... well, here's Roy Greenslade on that:
In other words, the main page one page story breached the first, and arguably most important, clause of the editors' code of practice, about accuracy.
Happy to set the record straight? You bet. Happy because the commission did not feel it necessary to censure the paper for publishing claims that it obviously could not prove. 
Happy because it published the mealy-mouthed correction seven weeks later at the foot of page 2. Happy because it had got away with a flier. And it didn't even have the grace to apologise.
And note a further irony. The story at the top of page 2 was a piece of "press freedom" propaganda against parliament's royal charter on press regulation, headlined "MPs told: hands off our press".
In the ongoing argument about the provisions of that charter, one of the key points of at issue is over the powers the regulator should have to determine where corrections should be placed. Editors do not want to be ordered where to place corrections. They prefer that they should have due prominence - the current situation.
Does anyone really think this correction on page 2 was adequate compensation for that page 1 splash?

Greenslade goes on to note that other papers had reprinted the 'story' - has Huhne really had a satisfactory outcome from the PCC????


See below for the original article.
sun Page 1 splash, 13 March - a story that The Sun could not substantiate The Sun published the front page shown above on 13 March. Under one of its trademark headlines, the "exclusive" article stated that Lib-Dem MP Chris Huhne had been ridiculed on his first day in Wandsworth jail.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Council papers exempt from press regulation

Minor detail, but still one that undermines the principle of press regulation: it has been noted this week that papers published by councils have managed to slip under the radar of the press regulation system, with no mention of them either in the Leveson recommendations or subsequent discussions. Here's Roy Greenslade once more:

Why are council papers exempted from press regulation?On a related subject, it appears odd that the government is prepared to allow council-owned papers to be exempt from a new system of press regulation.
And it's no wonder that Jim Fitzpatrick, Labour MP for the east London area of Poplar and Limehouse, should be in the forefront of attacking the exemption.
He serves part of a borough, Tower Hamlets, where the council publishes a weekly paper, East End Life, that has spent years strangling the life out of the commercial local paper, the East London Advertiser (also owned by Archant).
Fitzpatrick said: "East End Life has become too big and too biased. Hand-delivered to nearly every household in the borough it enjoys a privileged position without any real oversight."
Sources: Newspaper Society/Barking & Dagenham Council/East London Advertiser

You have the right to remain...anonymous? Police censorship

This topic overlaps with the broader issue of privacy and the tensions between the right to privacy enshrined under European law (augmented by further laws in most European states too) and the freedom to report, especially with regards to the powerful, and hold the actions of state agents/the powerful up to public scrutiny...

The UK police are actively campaigning (that statement itself suggests the role of the UK police has shifted over the past decade or so, as they are traditionally a strictly neutral agency, in theory at least) for the right of the media to name arrested suspects to be withdrawn.

See Roy Greenslade's blog post on this, where he quotes from press editorials and conflicting demands from the police over this (police on the Stuart Hall case were clear that it was the publicity that brought most victims forward - after his arrest), but fundamentally seeks to highlight the dangers of this in a democracy. [That's Stuart Hall the disgraced former BBC presenter, not the great academic who died in 2014]

Here's an excerpt:
The Mail devotes today's leading article, "Charging headlong towards a secret state", to the lessons of both the Warwickshire and Hall cases. It says:
"Make no mistake: the risks to justice and liberty of arresting and charging suspects in secret could not be more serious.
If the public are not allowed to know an innocent man or woman has been seized, how are they supposed to come forward with any information which could clear the accused, such as a cast-iron alibi?
Where a guilty suspect is concerned, there's a danger that witnesses' or, indeed, victims' evidence will never be heard."
And there is also an op-ed piece by John Kampfner in which he argues that "police secrecy insults democracy". He writes:
"The worst form of abuse of power is when the forces of law and order see their job as not just dispensing the law, but as making it and interpreting it in whatever way they see fit.
By deciding that individuals facing charges should not be named, the police appear to be doing just that."