The Data Protection Bill making its way through Parliament in late 2017 could remove an exemption enjoyed by journalists under the current Act, meaning they can “process” sensitive information in breach of the normal rules, as long as it is for a story they believe is in the public interest. Read Roy Greenslade’s Guardian blog post on this here.
Note: this website may or may not carry updates as this bill progresses. Students should check if need be.
Twitter declined to take down inaccurate tweets from the far-right hate group Britain First that had been retweeted by Donald Trump, citing public interest. A BBC writer said Twitter gave no explanation of what it meant by “public interest”. Read more
A columnist in The Hindu argues that media stings do not constitute real investigative journalism and actually uncover little information. Read more by A.S. Panneerselvan here
Despite open justice, empty press benches in court mean “justice operates essentially unseen and unheard by the public”, a senior barrister has warned in an article. He says this gives rise to false myths about how court cases operate. Reporters often piece together reports based on “fragments” of a case, writes Andrew Langdon QC, chairman of the Bar Council. Read more.
A judge refused to allow more than three reporters into a youth court hearing to avoid overwhelming a defendant accused of attacking a police officer. She later relented after key evidence had been heard. PA Legal Editor Mike Dodd said court rules did not limit the number of reporters who could attend youth courts – which are closed to the public. He said the judged place the defendant’s welfare above the principle of open justice.
A reporter’s battle to see the diary of former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley went all the way to the Court of Appeal – which ordered the government to reveal nearly all of it. It covered the period when the minister was working on a major shake-up of the NHS. The case highlights several reasons why Freedom of Information is considered important to journalism and the public interest. Read more
The Sun escaped censure for a story on a police officer who advertised threesomes with his girlfriend while on paid sick leave. The officer claimed a reporter’s secret film breached his privacy but the Independent Press Standards Organisation agreed the story was justified. Read more in UK Press Gazette.