Law, Justice and Journalism

Archive for the ‘Journalism’ 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.

#mediaplurality14

Programme

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

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Upcoming event: Crime and the Media – Social Science Perspectives

In Events, Journalism, Justice, Law on October 17, 2013 at 2:17 pm

City University London’s Professors Chris Greer and Eugene McLaughlin will be speaking at this upcoming event:

Crime and the Media: Social Science Perspectives

Trial by mediafalse appeals by apparent victims of crime, citizen journalism and wrongful convictions are some of the issues explored in this innovative seminar. We will ask:

  • How useful are public appeals for help with police investigations?
  • How does media coverage of sensational crimes influence policy making?
  • Are documentary makers aware or concerned of the implications of their presentation of crimes?
  • What are the processes connecting crime and the media, and what are the social and psychological consequences of these relations?

The speakers and panel chairs are all confirmed:

Professor Shirley Pearce, Chair of the College of Policing

  • Professor Laurie Taylor, Sociologist and broadcaster
  • Professor Jon Silverman, Former BBC Home Affairs Correspondent
  • Professor David Canter AcSS, University of Huddersfield
  • Professors Chris Greer and Eugene McLaughlin, City University London
  • Professor Roger Graef, LSE and film-maker
  • Professor Yvonne Jewkes, University of Leicester

The conference will be of value to academics, media practitioners, policy-makers, those who work on issues surrounding crime, and anybody else curious about the implications of our dominant contact with offending arising through second-hand representations by journalists and fiction writers.

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 P.Iosifidis@city.ac.uk 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)

TIMETABLE

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

Open justice in the digital era and data protection

In Events, Journalism, Justice, Research on June 5, 2013 at 10:21 am

By Judith Townend

I had the chance to discuss the Centre’s ‘Open Justice in the Digital Era’ project yesterday, at the first joint seminar of the DP Forum and NADPO (The National Association of Data Protection Officers).

The theme was ‘The challenges of complying with evolving standards’, and the other speakers included: Martin Hoskins, data protection consultant; Judith Jones, Group Manager, Government & Society, Information Commissioner’s Officer; Robert Bond, Head of Data Protection and Information Security at Speechly Bircham; and Lynne Wyeth, Head of Information Governance, Leicester City Council.

It provided a fascinating insight into the regulatory and legal challenges ahead (especially in view of the EC’s draft General Data Protection Regulation*), both in terms of the theoretical framework and practical issues on the ground for DP officers (whose number is set to increase, if EC proposals go ahead).

I introduced the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism’s ‘Open Justice in the Digital Era’ project and the privacy-related issues we have stumbled upon, in discussing potential recommendations for more efficient and systematic digitisation of courts information. There are important issues to consider around Data Protection, Rehabilitation of Offenders and the ‘Right to be Forgotten’, a concept included in the draft Regulation.

A quick summary can be found on my Meeja Law blog.

*A vote on on the lead rapporteur’s report regarding amendments to the Proposed Regulation, scheduled for 29 May, has been postponed, as a result of the high number of amendments to consider.

George Brock: The post-Leveson dog’s breakfast

In Comment, Journalism, Law on April 25, 2013 at 9:47 am

Professor George Brock

This post originally appeared on georgebrock.net.

I know that this week’s media debate is going to be all about the pros and cons of real-time news sharing in fast-moving crises like the Boston marathon bombings and subsequent shootouts, but my blog has a little catching up to do. While I have been writing a book, the government, Houses of Lord and Commons and the Hacked Off campaign have managed to make a gigantic dog’s breakfast of the follow-up to the Leveson Inquiry into phone-hacking.

This was pretty much the only subject on which I published during the long winter, so I’ll start by rounding up that stuff. It’s hardly surprising that inventive lawyers intent on intimidation are using Leveson’s recommendations to try to silence newspaper reporting or that the Metropolitan Police, who had a grimly embarrassing time in front of Leveson, are being cautious and unhelpful. What has surprised me is the depth of the legal and political doo-doo into which the government has stepped. In a hurry to get the Leveson Inquiry dealt with before the 2015 election season opens next year, the government tied itself in knots which may take years to unravel. The Royal Charter deal on a new press regulator was a rushed botch.

The largest single dilemma which Leveson plonked in the government’s lap is defining “the press”. Leveson was so heavily preoccupied by the issue of the misuse of power accumulated by the major newspaper groups, that he did not treat this as a central issue. He should have: defining who is to be covered by law or regulation dealing with news publishing is a basic issue in an era when “the press” doesn’t really exist any more. I argue in a TLS review (£) of Leveson and a report from the Columbia Journalism School on “post-industrial journalism” that the Leveson report’s worst flaw was that it was so backward-looking.

Thrashing round trying to define internet sites and blogs which are “news-related” and suchlike won’t work for anyone except lawyers who can spend happy years in court fighting over definitions. In this BBC explainer there is a nice little film by Newsnight’s David Grossman trying to explain the new law as it relates to online publishers. The Department of Culture Media and Sport have produced a colourful new diagram to help publishers work out if they’re covered by the new law. Here’s Patrick Smith of MediaBriefing picking holes.

The government seems frightened of open public debate about issues such as “public interest”. The reporting of the Leveson Report when it came out late last year was shoddy and partial. The negotiations leading up to the Royal Charter were opaque. The legislation is whistling through the Commons. Debate hasn’t happened. Opportunities to find better ways have been missed. And Leveson was a great chance to improve law and regulation of the news media, as I tried to explain in this lecture at Gresham College. Pity it was missed.

Conference, 3 May 2013: Obstacles to Free Speech and the Safety of Journalists

In Events, Journalism, Law on April 16, 2013 at 9:42 am

Date/time: Friday 3 May 2013, 11.00 – 16.30

Location: City University London, City Law School, Northampton Square campus, St John Street, EC1R 0JD, London, United Kingdom

Organisers: City Law School and the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism

The conference aims at celebrating the World Press Freedom Day by addressing some of the most topical issues affecting the protection of journalists through internationally established standards. The event stems from City’s commitment to the implementation of the UNESCO-steered UN Inter-Agency Action Plan for the Safety of Journalists 2013-2014. Issues considered will include the scope and effectiveness of extant international guarantees securing personal safety and freedom of expression for media workers in conflict and non-conflict zones, problems of compliance by States with duties arising under international human rights and humanitarian law, and potential strategies for further enforcement.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Geoffrey Robertson QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Professor Bill Bowring, Birkbeck College, University of London; Field Court Chambers; European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights
  • Nathalie Losekoot, Senior Programme Officer (Europe), ARTICLE 19
  • Professor Jacqueline Harrison, University of Sheffield; Chair, Centre for Freedom of the Media
  • Dr. Damian Carney, Principal Lecturer, University of Portsmouth School of Law
  • Merris Amos, Senior Lecturer, Queen Mary University of London
  • Jim Boumelha, President, International Federation of Journalists
  • Dr. Carmen Draghici, Senior Lecturer, The City Law School, City University London

The conference will be of interest to academics, media NGO representatives and practitioners specialising in international law, civil liberties and human rights law, international humanitarian law, and media law.

The event is free of charge. A lunch buffet will be offered to all participants. To register please contact Dr. Carmen Draghici at Carmen.Draghici.1@city.ac.uk by 30 April 2013.

Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism Research Studentships [deadline 29 April 2013]

In Announcements, Journalism, Justice, Law on April 8, 2013 at 9:12 am

The Centre is offering three three-year, full-time doctoral Research Studentships, available to both home and overseas fee-paying students. Applications can be made to undertake doctoral studies in a topic relevant to one of the main themes of the Centre:

For entry in October 2013, the studentships will attract a bursary of £15,000 per annum in addition to payment of the tuition fees. Successful candidates will usually be expected to undertake some teaching support activity in their second and third years, by agreement with the School concerned.

Closing date for applications: 29 April 2013

For further information please contact the Centre Research Manager: Peter Aggar

Informal enquiries can be made to the Centre Directors: Professor Howard Tumber (Journalism), Professor Lorna Woods (Law) and Dr Chris Greer (Sociology).

Lorna Woods: Leveson, the ICO and Data Protection

In Journalism, Law, Media regulation, Research, Resources on March 25, 2013 at 8:57 am

By Professor Lorna Woods

One aspect of the Leveson recommendations that seems to have escaped the headlines is that relating to data protection, though implementation of his recommendations could give those adversely affected by media treatment of their personal data some tools.

Section 32 Data Protection Act provides an exception to data processing rules in relation to a number of ‘special purposes’, which includes media purposes.  The scope of the exemption is pretty broad: it provides an exemption to non-compliance with any of the Data Protection Principles except the Seventh Principle (security), the right of access and objection (Ss32(2)(a) Data Protection Act).

This exemption is available provided the press-related data controller believes that the special importance of the public interest in freedom of expression is served by the processing of personal data, and that the processing of such data is with a view to publication.

The terms of the Act in this regard are thus vague and potentially subjective; they do not really give any clear steer on when processing of data might be protected.  Section 32(3) specifically provides, however, that when considering whether such belief was reasonable, “regard may be had to [a data controller’s] compliance with any code of practice” and provides that such codes may be designated by statutory instrument.

While there are existing codes for journalists (which are not limited to the PCC Code (SI 2000/1864), but include those put together by other media organisations, e.g. the BBC), they are not sufficiently detailed guidance on data protection obligations either.  Section 51 Data Protection Act empowers the drawing up of codes of good practice, or encouraging trade associations so to do. On this basis the ICO consulted (close date 15th March) on the intention to produce a code of conduct aimed at media organisations, including but not limited to the press, as it proposed in its response to the Leveson Report.

So given that there are existing codes under the system, what is the big deal about a new code?  Well, if it is designated under s.32(3), then this brings into play the (statutory) enforcement procedures under the Data Protection Act.  Given the monetary penalties that the ICO can now apply, this might get some attention.

More generally, the ICO has committed itself –again in response to Leveson – to “provid[ing] regular updates to Parliament on the effectiveness of the measures we are adopting in response to Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations and more generally on our assessment of the culture, practices and ethics of the press in relation to the processing of personal data”. This may give evidence about whether any new system of regulation is working which, crucially, comes from outside the system.

This then re-emphasises the importance of the scope of the journalistic exception and the meaning of ‘public interest in freedom of expression’, which is presumably tied in to the fourth estate capacity of the media, rather than its capacity for spreading rumour and gossip.

Further, how closely connected must the processing of the data be to the publication of a story to benefit from the exception? Mr Jay made this point at the Leveson Inquiry:  when the press obtains an ex-directory number (for hacking purposes), is it likely that the press would publish the ex-directory number? The answer is “no”, so presumably processing such material cannot benefit from Article 32.

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Lorna Woods: Reviewing the Communications Review

In Journalism, Law, Research on March 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Professor Lorna Woods

As part of the ongoing discussion surrounding the Communications Review, Lorna Woods, Professor and Associate Dean of Research at City Law School, City University London, explains which areas of communications regulation are being given the most attention, and which areas should be given more. This post was originally published on the LSE Media Policy Project blog.

The current government has long promised us a review of the Communications Act 2003, but with Leveson rumbling on in the background, progress seems slow.  The review process was launched by Jeremy Hunt in 2011 who issued an ‘open letter’ and DCMS created a review webpage. In 2012 a series of seminars were held (aimed at industry, not consumers/audiences).  The topics identified were:

  • Consumers: this includes content regulation, and online transactional and audience behaviour.
  • Competition in content: this envisages the market as the solution to diversity issues.
  • Spectrum: this concerns greater roll-out/connectivity and assumes the desirability of spectrum trading.  For example, Ofcom has recently issued a consultation on one aspect of spectrum: whether there should be charges for national digital terrestrial TV (DTT), local TV and digital audio broadcasting (DAB), in line with Ofcom’s duty to secure optimal use of radio spectrum.
  • TV Content: this questions the current requirements of the existing regulatory framework for broadcasting and looks for other options such as the introduction of tax incentives to support the creation of digital content. It also considers the policy objectives for UK and European regulatory requirements for Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) prominence, conditions for carriage consent and product placement. The Culture, Media and Sport Committee is examining these issues as part of its inquiry into support for the creative industries, with a focus on the development of high quality British content.
  • Radio: this questions whether the radio licensing regime is sufficiently flexible for future changes, and whether there are existing barriers to the on-going success of the radio sector.

Two points should be emphasised. The first is a recognition of a changing media environment that focuses on new (or not so new) services beyond traditional mass media.  The second is a deregulatory impulse.  These are no doubt important topics, but does the Communications Review cover everything that is actually under review, or needs reviewing?

While the review did identify carriage issues – and certainly the issue of the fees charged to PSB by satellite companies has risen up the agenda – it did not raise the issue of net neutrality directly, although this has already been the topic of considerable discussion.  (See, e.g., Ofcom’s approach as well as the voluntary code. Ofcom’s workplan suggests there may be more to come.)

The review did not directly address challenges in broadcast regulation, implicitly affirming the consensus established in the 2003 Act. Several broadcasting licences are currently being renewed, while the BBC Charter is not due for renewal until 2016. It may be that the Government was wary of opening the door to calls for Leveson to be implemented, or that the government is complacent if certain PSB obligations are weakened following licence renegotiation. Moreover, it is often unclear which platforms for content are subject to which types of regulations, such as the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) rules. Having a fractured and piecemeal system does not reflect a converged environment and may be confusing for consumers.

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Upcoming event, 6 March 2013: The Future of Humanitarian Reporting

In Comment, Events, Journalism on March 1, 2013 at 9:59 am

Glenda Cooper

The Haitian earthquake, January 2010: a man performs brain surgery on a 15-year-old girl; a second writes a gripping eye-witness account for the Guardian about the dead bodies piled up in the street.

In the past it would have been pretty obvious which was the journalist and which the aid worker. But Dr Sanjay Gupta was working for CNN as a reporter when he carried out the surgery; Prospery Raymond, who is named as the author of the Guardian piece, was Christian Aid’s country manager who survived the quake.

Meanwhile the latest news was being broken via social media. As the Columbia Journalism Review noted, new media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Skype were crucial in delivering early information about damage and relief efforts. By the time Hurricane Sandy occurred two and-a-half years later, people were using the photo app Instagram to upload pictures of the storm at the rate of 10 a second – 1.3 million hashtagged in total.

We’ve come a long way since Michael Buerk’s seminal piece from Korem in 1984. As a piece of journalism that report still has the power to move and shock. But what is astonishing is that in seven minutes only two voices are ever heard: Buerk and a white Medecins Sans Frontieres doctor.

But what does it mean for the way we report humanitarian disasters in future if ordinary citizens can break the news, aid workers can act as journalists, while journalists cross the line and get involved?

What kind of pictures and reporting are we exposed to if anyone can upload pictures of a dying victim of a hurricane – or a dying dictator, as happened in the case of Gaddafi?

And while a wealth of user-generated content made the 2004 tsunami a mega-story and saw mega amounts of aid donated ($1,241 per survivor – 50 times the worst-funded crises that year, according to the Red Cross), what kind of disasters will we end up covering if it takes tweets and Facebook updates to get our attention?

Next week, a conference organised by City University’s Centre for Law Justice and Journalism, in partnership with the Red Cross, will debate these very issues with some of the foremost names in academia, journalism and aid work. It will look at the latest developments in the use of UGC by mainstream media and aid agencies, the relationship between journalists and aid workers now that social media is a factor, and consider how, in a Twitter age, we should think about reporting emotion and trauma?

Speakers include:

The BBC College of Journalism will be blogging from the conference: full programme. Places are limited. If you wish to attend please email Peter Aggar, or for any queries about the schedule contact Glenda Cooper.

This post first appeared on at the BBC College of Journalism.