Law, Justice and Journalism

Archive for the ‘City University London’ Category

Event: 2 May 2014 – Media Power and Plurality: from hyperlocals to high-level policy

In City University London, Events, Journalism, Media policy, Media regulation, Research, Uncategorized on April 11, 2014 at 11:52 am

Policymakers throughout the world recognise the need to protect a diversity of voices and views in a democracy, but what does media plurality require in practice? How do you legislate to prevent undue concentration of media power? What interventions are needed to help new players flourish? How do you reconcile sustainable media businesses and a sufficiency of voices? How should policy approaches differ at national, regional and local level? The government’s consultation last year focused on media measurement, but there are far broader policy issues at stake and possible lessons to be learned from other countries.

  • Location: City University London (Room A130, College Building)
  • Time: Friday 2 May 2014, 8.45-5.15
  • Book your place

This conference, in the wake of recommendations from the Leveson Inquiry and from the House of Lords Communications Committee, will explore UK policy on media ownership and diversity, as well as possible manifesto commitments in the forthcoming general election. Other panels, featuring a range of leading academic, industry and policy practitioners, will look at UK and European policy, options for local and hyperlocal initiatives, and the potential for “charitable journalism”. The conference is organised by the University of Westminster’s Media Plurality and Power research project and hosted by the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism at City University London.

Tickets for this event are free and will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.



8.45 – Registration

9.15 – Keynote

10am – Panel 1 – Priorities for national policy

11.30 – Coffee

11.45 – Panel 2 – Subsidies, non-profits and charity: ideas for regeneration

1pm – Lunch

2pm – Panel 3 – Local media plurality: is it all doom and gloom?

3.30 – Tea

3.45 – Panel 4 – What can the UK learn from other countries?

5.15 – Close / thanks

Upcoming event, 11 July: Public Service Broadcasting in the Era of Austerity

In Broadcasting, City University London, Events, Journalism, Media policy on July 10, 2013 at 8:16 am

In light of the Greek government’s decision to close down the public broadcaster ERT and make its employees redundant – as part of the latest public spending cuts imposed to meet the terms of the country’s bailout deal – City University London is hosting a half-day conference on PSB in the age of austerity:

  • Location: City University London (Room A130, School of Social Sciences)
  • Time: Thursday 11 July, 11-5pm
  • Booking: The event is free to attend and coffee/tea/lunch will be provided. A wine reception will follow the event. Please RSVP if you wish to attend for catering purposes.

The following themes, among others, will be addressed –

  • What has happened to ERT and how the rise of the far right in Greece, the rise of social tension, has made it all important for Greece to have an impartial public service broadcaster;
  • Wider implications for PSB in Europe; Subsequent attacks on the BBC by right wing politicians as well as commercial operators;
  • Political and market/commercial pressures for a smaller PSB service in the era of austerity;
  • The role of PSB in supporting democracy and freedom of speech;
  • PSB, production of quality programmes, impact on children and young people

Confirmed speakers/discussants include:

  • Professor Steven Barnett (U of Westminster)
  • Professor Patrick Barwise (London Business School)
  • Professor Jean Chalaby (City University London)
  • Professor Sylvia Harvey (U of Leeds)
  • Dr. Irini Katsirea (Middlesex U)
  • Professor Jeanette Steemers (U of Westminster)
  • Professor Lorna Woods (City University London)
  • Roger Mosey (Editorial Director, BBC; Executive Board of EBU)
  • Nicholas Jones (former BBC political and industrial correspondent)


10:30 – 11:00: Welcome – tea/coffee

11:00 -13:00: The closure of ERT and the implications on freedom of speech

  • Chair: David Obrien (City University London)
  • Petros Iosifidis (City University London) ‘the ERT story’
  • Irini Katsirea (Middlesex U) ‘the high court decision about ERT’
  • Nicholas Jones (former BBC political and industrial journalist) ‘PSB: A vital role at times of strife’
  • Steven Barnett (U of Westminster)
  • Discussant: Patrick Barwise (London Business School)

13:00 – 14:00: Lunch

14:00 – 16:00: The Role of PSB in society

  • Chair: Howard Tumber (City University London)
  • Lorna Woods (City University London) ‘obligations to provide PSB under EU law’
  • Jeanette Steemers (U of Westminster) ‘PSB and children’
  • Jean Chalaby (City University London)
  • Roger Mosey (Editorial Director, BBC; Executive Board of EBU)
  • Discussant: Sylvia Harvey (U of Leeds)

16:00 – 17:00: Wine Reception

Introducing the Crime, Justice and Society Research Group

In City University London, Events, Justice, Law on May 28, 2012 at 10:10 am

This group, based at City University London, was established to research and examine issues relating to the interactions between the law, its application and representation (for example in the media) and the agencies dealing with it. The research areas are: Criminal Law, Criminal Justice and Socio-Legal studies.

Therefore, the group aims at including academics from both the Law School and the School of Criminology. We hold a series of seminars at City University with speakers who present research papers in areas such as: the changing nature of news media-police chief relations, the criminal justice system in the socio-legal context and historical perspectives on corporate liability.

Our mission is to contribute to the enhancement of the Criminal Law and Criminal Justice research cluster via seminars, conferences and workshops that focus on innovative perspectives on the contextualization of the law and criminal justice system.

For further information please contact the group convener Dr. Riccardo Montana (

More information here.

Upcoming seminars

  • “Phone-hacking, Riots, Looting, Gangs and Police Chiefs: Sir Hugh Orde’s ‘Trial by Media'”, Dr. Chris Greer and Prof. Eugene McLaughlin, Wednesday 30 May, City University London

Past seminars

  • “Moral Panics and Punitiveness: Putting a Criminal Justice System in Context”, Dr. Riccardo Montana, 25 April 2012
  • “Corporations and Individual Businesspersons in Domestic and International Criminal Law”, Dr. Grietje Baars, 28 March 2012

Sir Nigel Rodley on General Comment 34, Article 19, ICCPR

In City University London, Comment, Events, Law on April 2, 2012 at 11:06 am

By Professor Lorna Woods

On 7 March 2012, Professor Sir Nigel Rodley of the School of Law and Human Rights Centre at Essex University and a Member of the UN Human Rights Committee, established under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights gave a seminar on General Comment 34 on Article 19 of the ICCPR. The following is a summary.

General comments are commentaries on the scope of the rights to which they relate. While not limited to being a summary of the decisions on that Article, they are in part based on that case law.

Originally, general comments were introduced as it was difficult to reach consensus in the country-specific reports and evaluations carried out. While concluding that observations may now be possible, in the post-cold-war environment, general comments are established and have persuasive stature.

General Comment 34 replaces General Comment 10, a much shorter document. The revisiting of the general comment was triggered by the problem of how to deal with “defamation of religion”, which had led to political tension. Rather than leave this issue as a political one, transforming the issues into technical legal questions operates to diffuse this tension.

The new general comment was adopted in the summer of 2011. The new general comment reflects a mixture of points drawn from concluding observations, case law and other elements. So this general comment is not just codification of what went before. There was no case law, for example, on defamation of religion.

General Comment 34 (GC34) refers to Article 19 (1) and (2) of the ICCPR, made up of two separate rights: the right to opinions and the right to freedom of expression. Article 19 (3) constitutes the “clawback” clauses and relates only to Article 19 (2).  General Comment 34 starts by providing a conceptual view of Article 19 ICCPR and its value. Paragraph 2 of the GC34 states:

“Freedom of opinion and freedom of expression are indispensable conditions for the full development of the person. They are essential for any society. They constitute the foundation stone for every free and democratic society. The two freedoms are closely related, with freedom of expression providing the vehicle for the exchange and development of opinions.”

This is one of the first attempts to delineate the conceptual underpinnings of Article 19 and to identify the “infrastructure” aspect of the right, a point which has developed further in paragraph 4.

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Justice Wide Open: courts and legal information in the digital age

In City University London, Events, Journalism, Justice, Law on March 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm

On Wednesday 29 February 2012, academics, lawyers and journalists gathered to discuss open justice in the digital age at City University London.

The programme included context and history, issues for the media and an academic perspective. Speakers included: Geoffrey Robertson QC; Hugh Tomlinson QC; Heather Brooke, journalist and author; Mike Dodd, editor of PA Media Lawyer; and Professor Ian Cram, Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law, University of Leeds.

Later in the spring the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism will be releasing a set of papers from the event and also work on practical recommendations to take forward. Please contact if you would like to be involved or have suggestions.

In the meantime, here are some links to reports elsewhere, tweets, photos and audio.

Audio recordings & slides

  • Session one, with Hugh Tomlinson QC, David Goldberg, information rights academic and activist; and Emily Allbon, City Law School librarian [slides] (chair: Professor Howard Tumber).
  • Session 2, with Heather Brooke, journalist and author; Mike Dodd, editor of PA Media Lawyer; Adam Wagner, barrister; William Perrin, founder of Talk About Local [slides] (chair: Judith Townend).
  • Session 3. An academic perspective, with Professor Ian Cram, Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law, University of Leeds [slides] and Dr Lawrence McNamara, Reader in Law and ESRC/AHRC Research Fellow, University of Reading (chair: Professor Ian Loveland).

New book: Phone hacking – journalism on trial

In City University London, Journalism on February 17, 2012 at 2:18 pm

A new book about the phone hacking scandal features chapters by Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism PhD researchers Glenda Cooper and Judith Townend.

The Phone Hacking Scandal: Journalism on Trial, edited by Richard Lance Keeble and John Mair (Arima 2012) was published this month.

Chapter details:

  • ‘Facing up to the Ethical Issues surrounding Facebook Use’ by Glenda Cooper.
  • ‘Press “Omerta”: How Newspapers’ Failure to Report the Phone Hacking Scandal Exposed the Limitations of Media Accountability’ by Daniel Bennett and Judith Townend [Download here].

Other authors include Brian Cathcart, Jackie Newton and Sallyann Duncan, Richard Peppiatt, Alan Rusbridger, John Tulloch, Steven Barnett, Stewart Purvis, Kevin Marsh, Nicholas Jones, John Lloyd and Chris Atkins.

This is the sixth in a series of books coming out of the Coventry Conversations Conferences held jointly with the BBC College of Journalism and the School of Journalism at the University of Lincoln.


Registration open for ‘Justice Wide Open’ event on legal knowledge in a digital era

In City University London, Events, Journalism, Justice, Law on January 16, 2012 at 10:46 am

The Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism will be hosting ‘Justice Wide Open’ on Wednesday 29 February 2012 at City University London from 9am-2pm. It’s free to attend but registration is required.

Geoffrey Robertson QC will open the event with a talk on ‘Alphabet Soup and the judicial retreat from open justice’. Three sessions will cover the history and context of the flow of legal knowledge; legal reporting and the media; and an academic perspective on open justice.

Speakers include: Hugh Tomlinson QC, Matrix Chambers; Dr David Goldberg, information rights academic and activist; Emily Allbon, law librarian, City Law School; Heather Brooke, journalist and activist; Mike Dodd, editor of PA Media Lawyer; Adam Wagner, barrister, One Crown Office Row and editor of the UK Human Rights Blog; William Perrin, founder, Talk About Local and member of the Crime and Justice Sector Panel on Transparency; Professor Ian Cram, Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law, University of Leeds; Dr Lawrence McNamara, Reader in Law and ESRC/AHRC Research Fellow, University of Reading.

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Attorney General at City University London: full text

In City University London, Events, Journalism, Law on December 2, 2011 at 9:26 am

The Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, spoke about the “balancing act” of Contempt at City University London on Thursday night. Predictably, his comments on uncertainties around reporting Parliament made the headlines.

…for the journalists amongst your number, a note of caution – it is still an open question as to whether something said in Parliament in breach of a court order may be repeated in the press. The privilege to report Parliamentary proceedings, which is provided by the Parliamentary Papers Act and protects Hansard, does not necessarily extend to all publications which are not published by order of Parliament. It is likely that it does extend to a fair and accurate report of proceedings in Parliament. But just because something has been said does not mean it can be repeated out of context. This question has yet to be authoritatively decided but will shortly be considered further by Parliament. But in the interim – writer beware!

He also covered why we have Contempt law; the right to press freedom and the right to a fair trial; recent Contempt prosecutions; and the “inexorable rise of the internet and the citizen journalist”.

The full speech can be found below. has a report here. People were tweeting around the tag #cityattorney.

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Is Sky a ‘fit and proper person’ to hold a broadcasting licence?

In City University London, Journalism, Law on November 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm

By Professor Lorna Woods

This post originally appeared on the City Legal Research blog.

The Leveson Enquiry is focussing, understandably enough, on the regulation on the press, but there are more general issues which at some point will need to be addressed. One of these is the question of whether Sky, as part of the Murdoch media empire, is a ‘fit and proper person’ for the purposes of the Broadcasting Act (News Corporation holds 39.14% of the shares in BSkyB).  S. 3 of the Broadcasting Act 1990 and s. 3 of the Broadcasting Act 1996 impose a duty on Ofcom to ensure that broadcasting licences (whether radio or television) are held by fit and proper persons.

This duty is ongoing and does not apply just at the time of the grant of the licence.  It is therefore possible that a licence may be removed from a person if that person ceases – in Ofcom’s opinion – to be fit and proper.  The person in question is the holder of the licence – so the person may be a corporate body. Ofcom will take into account the actions of controlling directors and shareholders, as well as the actions of the licence-holder itself and any determination could affect all licences held by that body.

While this much is clear from the Acts, the scope of ‘fit and proper’ is much less clear-cut, at least in the broadcasting context (other regulators have come up with their own definitions).  Here, note that it is not defined in the Broadcasting Acts although presumably the categories of persons prohibited from holding a broadcasting licence do not trigger the fit and proper test.  In general, it would seem to be a question for Ofcom – in satisfying itself that the requirements of both s. 3s are fulfilled – that will determine the question.

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CLJJ annual lecture: Baroness Buscombe on changing times and regulation

In City University London, Events, Journalism on October 13, 2011 at 10:14 am

The Press Complaints Commission chairman, Baroness Buscombe, gave the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism annual lecture last night [Wednesday].

In her lecture, “Changing times and changing media regulation,” she discussed the challenges of convergence, technology development and international regulation.

In her view, non-statutory self-regulation is the “only model that can work”. However, she called for a “back stop” power that would ensure publishers complied with a self-regulatory system.

Read more at:

Update: Full speech text now available, below, and you can watch the video on the CLJJ main site.