July 6, 2007
Restaurant Owner Sues Paper For Defamation: Are Its Anonymous Restaurant Reviews Over?
Restaurant owner Alex Plotkin, unhappy over a review of the food at his place, Chops, in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, is suing the Philadephia Inquirer and its food critic, Craig LaBan, for defamation. Mr. Plotkin says Mr. LaBan's recent review of a dinner at Chops was unfair. But the judge's order that Mr. LaBan give an on-camera deposition might mean that everybody would know what Mr. LaBan looks like, and then Mr. LaBan could no longer visit Philadelphia area restaurants anonymously, a real problem for a restaurant reviewer. Read more here in a CNN.com story.
Incisive Media Buys ALM
British-based Incisive Media is to purchase ALM, a media company which publishes a number of legal newspapers and magazines, including The American Lawyer®, The New York Law Journal®, Corporate Counsel®, and The National Law Journal®. Here's a link to the press release.
Four Letter Words Across the Pond
The FCC isn't the only agency in a war over offensive language. The British watchdog agency the Advertising Standards Authority is investigating a new advertising campaign by the children's charity Barnardo's, in which a child uses the F word. Read more here in a Guardian story.
Mail on Sunday, Journalists, Face Contempt Charges
The British paper Mail on Sunday and two of its journalists will appear in a Scottish court on contempt proceedings in connection with a story published last year. The story, an interview of key witness in a murder trial, appeared two months before the trial opened, and the charges against the paper and its employees allege that the story could have prejudiced the proceeding. Read more here in a Guardian article.
Steven Hatfill Seeks Source Names; Journalists Resist
Steven J. Hatfill, identified as a "person of interest" during the anthrax scare of 2001, is now seeking the names of sources that he says leaked information about the 2001 anthrax attacks to the media, and he has gone to the courts to obtain that information. As part of a lawsuit filed against the Department of Justice, Dr. Hatfill now wants journalists working for ABC News, the Washington Post and Newsweek to disgorge those names. The reporters say the First Amendment protects them from having to divulge the identities of their informants. Judge Reggie B. Walton, who oversaw the Lewis B. Libby trial, is also overseeing this one. Read more here in an AP story.
July 4, 2007
Journalist Alan Johnston Freed
Are Laws Necessary To Deter HIV-AIDS Denial Speech Link?
Some believe that speech denying the link between HIV and AIDS or smoking and cancer is dangerous and should be limited, or prohibited, on public policy grounds. Read an essay from the Globe and Mail taking just such a position written by two such researchers (subscription may be required; free).
July 3, 2007
Filming in NYC
The Hollywood Reporter has an article in today's paper on the new rules proposed by the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting under which photographers could film in public places without a permit. The New York Civil LIberties Union, however, says that some of the rules, which require permits for two or more persons filming for more than 30 minutes in public places could apply to tourists, for example. The Mayor's Office claims this situation would be unlikely. Read the Hollywood Reporter article here (subscription may be required). Read the NYCLU's commentary here. Read the new rules and the MOFTB's policy here.