What are the limits to freedom of speech?

Two interesting and important statements about freedom of speech in seminars at the University of East London this week.  One I agree with, another I do not. Actions not expressions First: laws should only deal with actions and not expressions.  The law should punish what people do not what they say.  Even if the expression Read More

ContentETC briefing prompts campaign to reform libel in Nigeria

A leading Nigerian media company plans to launch a campaign in Nigeria to reform Nigeria’s libel laws.  Media Trust, a newspaper, internet and magazine publisher in the Nigerian capital, plans to lobby other publishers and journalists to mount this campaign.  The aim is to reform the complicated libel laws to win more freedom of speech. Read More

May right to raise threat of law to underpin independent press regulation post Leveson

Teresa May is right to say the government would introduce legislation to underpin an independent regulation of the press if the press itself does not come up with a suitable plan, and soon. That’s a good negotiating tactic. Her legions of critics will say: “But it’s not Government policy, listen to the PM.” But there Read More

10 things Leveson must not fluff this Thursday

Ten things Leveson must not fluff 1                     Regulation must have legal backing: we can’t have the publishers opting out. 2                     Editors and publishers, including owners, should have responsibility for what their employees do, as in corporate manslaughter. 3                     Newspapers need to establishe internal compliance operations to implement a newly written code. 4                     Clarify what is Read More

Murdoch custard pie over Bill of Rights

Rupert Murdoch has called for a Bill of Rights in the UK along the lines of the USA.  In fact we have two already. We have the Bill of Rights of 1689.  This created the first constitutional monarchy in the world.  It separated the powers of the judiciary, the legislature and the executive.  And it Read More

US Congress moves against “pirates”: Wikipedia protests

The US Congress is taking ”piracy” of US intellectual property seriously by proposing to attack the financial basis of foreign sites running copyright material without permission.  Two acts are in Congress to let media owners force search engines to stop linking to “pirate” sites and stop US advertisers advertising. Wikipedia offline in protest The opposition Read More

Draft Defamation Bill nearly gets there

The Government’s draft Defamation Bill published today goes a long way to sorting out libel – but not far enough. The good things it proposes are: The claimant shall prove they were substantially damaged or were likely to be substantially damaged by the statement – now the claimant does not have to prove either; There Read More