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Sunday, 14 October 2012

Media Law - A Basic Recap

In the first week of this semester's Law lectures, we had a recap of the sort of laws journalists need to be aware of.

Some of the key areas of law we should know about is:

- Defamation
- Contempt
- Privacy

What is Defamation?
For something to be defamatory, it must tick the following boxes-

1. It must be published (meaning available to the public).
2. The person must be identifiable.
3. It would have bad things said about the person, having the potential to be defamatory and could cause them to be shunned and avoided.

Defences for defamation
Their are a few defence's for defaming someone.
These includes justification, fair comment, privilege and public interest.

You could also use the Reynolds Defence.


Contempt of court is a very important law to remember, not only because breaking it can be damaging to yourself, but it can also be damaging to court cases.

The main thing to remember is to make fair and accurate reports when covering a court case.

Chris Jefferies is a good example. A few articles were found to be in contempt of court. The court found that the reports created a big risk of'serious prejudice' for any future trials. Their reporting of Chris after he had been arrested had been found as contempt. He was later released without charge, and found completely innocent.
He also received libel damages from a number of newspapers.


This area of media law concerns both Article 8 and Article 10.

A recent topic regarding privacy concerns the royal family. Images of Prince Harry naked in a hotel room ended up being published by The Sun. Whilst topless pictures of Kate Middleton were not published in the UK. The differences

Fatal Error System
1- Malice/conflict of interest
2- Dishonest presentation of sources
3- Causing disrepute/disruption
4- Reckless inaccuracy in basic expression
5- Legal problems (without justification)
6- Regulatory problems (without justification)

What to do
1- Disinterestedness/in the interest of the viewer/ reader/ public
2- Development of professional contacts/honest work
3- Professionalism/ responsibility (vs disrepute/disreputable/personalised)
4- 100 per cent factually accurate (including spelling, grammar and punctuality)
5- Up to date and working knowledge/ application of media law
6- Up to date and working knowledge/ application of media regulation


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