The week’s media law & ethics stories that caught Meeja Law’s eye…
Big developments in this story, as the Guardian revealed the suspension of News of the World’s assistant editor (news), Ian Edmondson, “following a “serious allegation” related to phone hacking.” More on the Guardian’s phone hacking story page and at:
- Independent>> Sky Sports’ Andy Gray determined to settle score, documents show http://ind.pn/fK1xo8
- BBC News>> Police ask News of World for new phone hacking material http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12140330
- Daily Mail>> Detectives to hand over new files on News of the World phone-hacking http://bit.ly/ePflhV
As reported on here earlier today, false reports that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had died in the Arizona shooting quickly spread on Twitter after they were tweeted by news organisations including NPR, Reuters and the BBC. All this raised the question of how best to correct the record on Twitter, while maintaining journalistic transparency.
Contempt & Yeates murder
Questionable reporting around Christopher Jefferies’ arrest was addressed in last week’s round up, but more has been said about issues of contempt:
- Media Guardian>>Media treat contempt law with contempt http://bit.ly/dI8pZE
- Inforrm>>Opinion: What’s to stop the press ‘monstering’ the next Jo Yeates suspect? http://bit.ly/fWKiLe
- Media Guardian>> National papers defy contempt law because the attorney general won’t act http://t.co/Mcw55gW
Speculation over potential legal actions has started too. Additionally, Somerset Police took an interesting approach to PR when it reportedly banned ITN from its press conference:
- Press Gazette>>ITN says police ban amounts to censorship http://bit.ly/hZkfMI
- Media Guardian>> Police lift ITV ban in Joanna Yeates case http://t.co/6FuxuPr
Julian Assange & Wikileaks
Assange is due to appear in court on January 11 to decide whether he will be extradited to Sweden and is reported to have signed a book deal. But there’s some confusion over another book, apparently by the Guardian, listed on the Waterstones site with a subtitle of “The Rise and Fall of Wikileaks”. Wikileaks live blogger Greg Mitchell (a journalist definitely worth following) notes that: “Ian Katz, deputy editor of The Guardian, tweets me re: upcoming WikiLeaks book … from the paper: “Guardian book title listed by Amazon was wrong. Not sure where it came from.” I’ll drop the press office a line to find out about that. The book is called ‘WIKILEAKS: Inside Julian Assange’s war on secrecy’ and more details can be found here.
In Wikileaks news of wider relevance is the discovery that the federal court had issued a subpoena for Twitter to supply account details of people involved in Wikileaks. More here:
- Independent>> US demands Twitter release Assange details http://ind.pn/gl5snb
- Guardian>> WikiLeaks demands Google and Facebook unseal US subpoenas http://t.co/UyLVfkl
A couple of things to flag up here. Inforrm’s position on libel reform discussed here (there will be an event tomorrow evening on the subject); the number of actual defamation trials that take place in England & Wales; and deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s use of the issue in his civil liberties speech, critiqued by libel reform campaigner Evan Harris here.
I’ve been having a play with social question site Quora. No doubt there will be interesting media law issues for the service to consider, as Stephen Kuncewicz comments on Twitter this morning. In the meantime, I’ve posed a question about the best legal resources for online publishers and social media users.