Monday, 17 June 2013

Olivia O'Kane responds - Should we be worried about libel Law?

In an article in the Ulster Business magazine, 'Libel law: should we be worried?' Olivia O'Kane responded at length:
"It should not have been a flat refusal. The NI assembly should at the very least reconsider halting the extension of libel reform to NI without having a proper, open and public consultation on the issue. There must be an open debate ominous NI about brining it back into line with the rest of the UK.  
The press are the eyes and the ears of society and watch as a public watchdog. Chilling press freedom of speech damages the public community at large.  
The recent reforms of libel law does not only affect the traditional media outlets but affects citizens, corporation, human rights NGOs, website operators, bloggers, academics and scientists alike. The act arguably strikes a careful balance of ensuring the protection of the right to a good reputation whilst acknowledging the right to freedom of expression.  
The laws of defamation are a legal minefield not just for journalists but for potential complainants. The defamation act 2013 provides legal clarity and simplifies the existing law defining the boundaries of free speech." 
On the risk of a two tier system: 
"Northern Ireland is being isolated and it must ensure that it keeps up to date with the modern world and that free and open journalism is not censored and protects a free press and public interest blogging.  
Let's hope the two tier Approach will not encourage media organisations to exit Northern Ireland and curb economic growth and inward investment in Northern Ireland. We do not want to face a proposition that the UK media may have to sanitise news broadcast in Northern Ireland." 

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