Law, Justice and Journalism

Posts Tagged ‘phone hacking’

New publication: ‘Trial by Media: Phone-hacking, Riots, Looting, Gangs and Police Chiefs’

In Announcements, Journalism, Justice, Law, Publications on June 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Chris Greer and Eugene McLaughlin

Contemporary police chiefs must operate within an information-communications environment that differs radically from the more stable and predictable conditions conceptualised in previous research. The most important dimension of this multi-faceted environment is the emergence of the 24-7 news mediasphere. This paper examines the changing nature of news media-police chief relations, and the rising news media ‘politics of outrage’, by analysing the ‘trial by media’ that defined Sir Hugh Orde’s attempt to become Commissioner of the MPS in August/September 2011.

Greer, C. and McLaughlin, E. (2012) ‘Trial by Media: Phone-hacking, Riots, Looting, Gangs and Police Chiefs’, in J. Peay and T. Newburn (eds.) Policing, Politics, Culture and Control: Essays in Honour of Robert Reiner (Festschrift), London: Hart.

This paper was presented to the Crime, Justice and Society Research Group at City Law School on 30 May 2012.

James Murdoch before the select committee: The rules on giving evidence

In Comment, Journalism, Law on November 11, 2011 at 10:00 am

By Professor Lorna Woods.

This post also appeared on the City Legal Research blog.

James Murdoch has been called by the select committee to verify the evidence he gave to that committee earlier this year. The problem means that his evidence conflicts with that given by others, so somebody must – at best – be misremembering events. It is timely therefore to recap briefly the rules relating to evidence given to Parliamentary select committees.

Some have noted that none of the people giving evidence have done so on oath; the argument therefore is that such witnesses cannot commit perjury. The implication that seems to be drawn from this is that people are free to lie to Parliament at will. This is not entirely the case. There are two points:

1. It is possible that a witness be required to give evidence on oath. If this were to be done, then the perjury route would be available. Of course, requiring that a witness take the oath rarely occurs. In any event, there is another way.

2. Lying to Parliament, even if you have not taken an oath, constitutes contempt of Parliament. In both cases, the body which would impose a punishment is Parliament and in both instances the punishment would be the same: imprisonment. Parliament has the power to imprison someone for contempt until the end of the Parliamentary term. Despite some claims to the contrary, it seems Parliament does not have the power to impose fines.

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