Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Journal of Media Law, Volume 5, Issue 1 (2013)

The Journal of Media Law, Volume 5, Issue 1 (2013) is available. Check out the contents further here.



Volume 5 . Number 1 . 2013

Comment and Analysis

Animal Defenders International: Speech, Spending, and a Change of Direction in Strasbourg

Jacob Rowbottom

Abstract: This article looks at the decision of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Animal Defenders International, in which the Court found the UK's ban on political advertising on the broadcast media not to violate freedom of expression. In addition to examining the Court's reasoning, the article considers the previous decisions on political advertising, compares the ECtHR's approach to that taken by the US Supreme Court in Citizens United, and outlines the main differences in the dissenting opinions.


Google: Friend or Foe of Ad-Financed Content Providers?

Thomas Hoppner

Abstract: The more content provided to Google by publishers, the more attractive the search engine becomes. However, the more content is consumed on Google, the less traffic reaches the content providers. But blocking the content for Google is not an option for content providers either. Antitrust authorities or the legislator will have to intervene in the end. This article examines the underlying tensions between Google and providers of premium content such as news, images and videos and outlines possible regulatory instruments to address the conflict.


Closed Data: Defamation and Privacy Disputes in England and Wales

Judith Townend

Abstract: The Coalition Government has prioritised 'open data' as a 'powerful tool' to 'empower citizens', with a 'transparency commitment' to publish more crime and anonymised sentencing data and the Ministry of Justice has set out an open data strategy covering both civil and criminal courts. However, legal researchers frequently encounter inaccessible or 'closed' data, when they attempt to access basic information concerning civil cases. Better-organised and more open information would help inform public debates relating to procedural and substantive civil law - the discussion around libel reform and privacy-related interim injunctions, for example. This paper will argue that a lack of public data about defamation and privacy litigation, indicated by the Impact Assessment for the Defamation Bill 2012 and the report by the Master of the Rolls' Committee on Super-Injunctions in 2011, hampers the policy-making process, public debate and academic research around these issues of public interest.


Honour in a Time of Twitter

Megan Richardson

Abstract: This note reflects on to the debate which took place about Lord McAlpine?s alleged pedophilia on Twitter in Autumn 2012 and in the wake of the revelation that the allegations were false his response in invoking the law of defamation against his detractors. Contrary to those who criticised McAlpine for taking this step, arguing that online public debate would be imperiled as a result, this note accepts that law should play a role in framing the parameters of online communication?and points out that historically the public sphere has not been a lawless sphere but has rather been framed by laws such as defamation.



Theory and Doctrine of ‘Media Freedom’ as a Legal Concept

Jan Oster

Abstract: The evolution of the blogosphere, the phenomenon of media convergence, and the reputed decline of the traditional media in both its public influence and in its quality, raise questions as to whether the media should still be endowed with special privileges, what its duties and responsibilities are, and what 'the media' actually is. The objective of the article is to develop a theoretical and doctrinal framework for the definition and treatment of 'the media' as a legal concept. In order to set the right incentives for journalists and media entities to behave in a prudent and diligent manner, the article argues in favour of a functional and content-based approach as a third way between statutory regulation and media self-regulation. Rather than arguing that because a person or institution is to be categorised as 'journalist' or 'media' they enjoy certain privileges and have to abide by standards of conduct, the article suggests that if a person or institution contributes to matters of public interest in accordance with certain standards of conduct, then they are to be conceived of as media and should enjoy special privileges.


Access to Information as a Human Right in the Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights

Päivi Tiilikka

Abstract: The author examines whether the right to obtain information held by state or city authorities is considered to be a human right guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR, or 'the Convention'). The research question is studied by analysing the practice of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR, or 'the Court'). According to ECtHR case law, the right to obtain information may be based on Article 2 of the ECHR (guaranteeing the right to life), on Article 6 (guaranteeing fair trial), on Article 8 (guaranteeing the right to private and family life), and, finally, on Article 10 (guaranteeing freedom of expression). However, there is no general right to obtain information from public authorities and access official documents. The ECHR is still able to bring added value to many access-to-information cases. It brings the scrutiny and supervision of the ECtHR into play, and the Convention and the Court that interprets it set the minimum standard for publicity of information.


Anti-Terror Laws and the News Media in Australia Since 2001: How Free Expression and National Security Compete in a Liberal Democracy

Jacqui Ewart, Mark Pearson and Joshua Lessing

Abstract: This article backgrounds the Australian experience with national security laws using case studies to highlight tensions between Australia's security laws and the media's Fourth Estate role. It compares the Australian and UK human rights contexts and suggests a cautious approach to the renewal of such laws, particularly those restricting public debate about national security and its impact on human rights.


Death of a Convention: Competition between the Council of Europe and European Union in the Regulation of Broadcasting

Daithí Mac Síthigh

Abstract: This article considers a dispute between the European Union and Council of Europe regarding their respective roles in the broadcasting field, so as to explain and assess its relevance for the development at the international level of media law and policy. The dispute is a long-running one and dates back to the adoption of the first EEC Directive and Council Convention on this subject in 1989. It is argued that the expansion of the scope of EU broadcasting law and the consolidation of the European Commission's role in external affairs left little room for the Council to continue to exercise influence over the regulation of the electronic media in the way it has done for some time. The exact nature of the dispute between the institutions, and the response of a vocal member state, is ascertained through consideration of published minutes and internal correspondence, set in the context of doctrinal and political developments. The article concludes with analysis of possible future actions for the Council.


Book Reviews

Katrien Lefever, New Media and Sport: International Legal Aspects

A review by Rachael Craufurd Smith


Mark Warby QC, Nicole Moreham and Iain Christie (eds), Tugendhat and Christie, The Law of Privacy and the Media

A review by Eric Barendt



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