Friday, 28 February 2014

Viscount Colville - Journalists were bombarded with daily, sometimes hourly, threats of defamation

Viscount Colville of Culross speaks in favour of libel reform in Northern Ireland
Viscount Colville of Culross made compelling point in the House of Lords on Tuesday 25 February 2014 in favour of libel reform in Northern Ireland.
"My Lords, I declare an interest as a producer at the BBC. I support this amendment and add my concerns to those of other noble Lords at the refusal of the Northern Ireland Executive to implement the Defamation Act 2013. I was sorry not to have been able to attend Committee but I read, with regret, the Hansard report of the Minister’s speech, in which she said she could do little beyond offering some encouragement for this to go forward."

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Peers lambast Northern Ireland libel laws

Lord Lexden proposed that the following amendment be inserted into the Northern Ireland Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill:
3: After Clause 25, insert the following new Clause— 
(1) Section 17 of the Defamation Act 2013 (short title, extent and commencement) is amended as follows.  
(2) In subsection (2), after “Wales” insert “and Northern Ireland”.”
Lord Bew, Lord Empey and Lord Black of Brentwood continued to lend Lord Lexden their support for his tabled amendment. Other Lords stood to support the move. All made compelling points in favour of forcing reform, especially Viscount Colville of Culross and Lord Lester of Herne Hill. Here what each said in turn about oppressively censorious politicians and the deleterious state of libel law in Northern Ireland that actually empowers and emboldens those politicians.

Lord Lester - "I can’t think of any good reason to do that, unless it’s because politicians in Northern Ireland want to be able to sue newspapers more readily"

As Lord Lexden pointed out in the House of Lords debate of February 25 2014, "it was only through the persistence of journalists that it emerged that a single minister had rejected the Defamation Act 2013." That minister being former finance minister Sammy Wilson who opted out of using the 'legislative consent motion' which would have implemented the law. More can be read of this on the News Letter here and here. Also covered on Slugger O'Toole here and here.

Lord Lester - who tabled the libel law reform three years ago with a private member’s bill won cross-party support and was adopted by the Government - said:
"I can’t think of any good reason to do that, unless it’s because politicians in Northern Ireland want to be able to sue newspapers more readily, which doesn’t seem to me to be a very good reason."
The infamous Irish News libellous restaurant review here. Article by the Newspaper Society, 'Lords Warn Northern Ireland Faces 'Pariah' Status After Executive's Defamation Act Refusal', here.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Peers debate libel reform in Northern Ireland

As we reported here, today (February 25 2014) peers in the House of Lords considered libel reform in Northern Ireland by virtue of an amendment brought to the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill by Lord Lexden in committee.
David Pannick QC reiterated the bad smell coming from Northern Ireland. Lord Bew reiterated the intolerable problems facing the Northern Ireland judiciary by way of the old libel regime. 
Lord Empey made an important observation:

Olivia O'Kane - The curious case of user-generated comment

Online responsibility is governed by the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002 No 2013) and The Defamation Act 1996, commonly known as the safe harbour defences.

[Our original post on the Delfi AS v Estonia judgement here]


The following legislation provides that no liability shall arise until and after Information society Service Providers [“ISPs] are put on notice of the material complained about:
1. Pursuant to Regulation 19 of the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 where:
an ‘information society service’ is provided which consists of the storage of information provided by a recipient of the service the service provider is not liable for damages or for any unlawful activity as a result of that storage where the storage provider “does not have actual knowledge of unlawful activity or information” and the provider “upon obtaining such knowledge or awareness acts expeditiously to remove or to disable access to the information”.

The psychology of internet trolls

Via Andrew Sullivan's The Dish here, research on Internet trolls has found that they are often Machiavellian sadists:
"The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called “Dark Tetrad”: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others). 
It is hard to underplay the results: The study found correlations, sometimes quite significant, between these traits and trolling behavior. What’s more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits (except for narcissism) and the overall time that an individual spent, per day, commenting on the internet."

Monday, 24 February 2014

The Guardian's Gill Phillips on press freedoms

[VIDEO: Q&A session with Gill Philips at the Hong Kong Media Law and Policy in the Internet Age Policy Conference, here also.]

Gill Philips (@ladywell23) is a media lawyer and head of legal at The Guardian. She gave witness to the Leveson Inquiry here and later said that the process has been "disastrous". During her career Phillips has witnessed the rise of the internet and social networking sites and has watched as technology has transformed the media and how extensively media law has struggled to keep pace.

In an interview with The Lawyer magazine here, she explained how, where the civil law had dominated, the criminal law has encroached more and more into the realm of the press and communications:
"When I started doing media litigation it was primarily civil litigation – civil cases brought by private individuals. Now, there is much more crime around. The criminal law has encroached more and more into free speech."

Peers will continue with their plan to extend Defamation Act to NI by adding it into Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill

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(Updated below)

Lord Lexden brought forward an amendment to the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill in committee. That amendment would effectuate reform of the libel law.

On Tuesday 25 February of this week the House of Lords will again look at libel reform in Northern Ireland. Frances Gibb, legal editor for the Times, reported that a line-up of peers will seek to amend the law to bring Northern Ireland into line with the UK, amid fears it will become the libel capital of the UK. They will continue with their plan to extend the Defamation Act to NI by adding it into Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill.

Our earlier posts on the move by peers to enter the Northern Ireland libel reform movement here and here. The BBC Democracy Live previously reported on December 3 2013:
"Peers have broadly welcomed the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill at second reading and suggested ways it could be developed as it passes through Parliament. Introducing the bill on 3 December 2013, Northern Ireland Office spokesperson Baroness Randerson told the House: "It is a bill for more normal times."

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Cameron wants lessons on cyber-bullying

Pupils should be taught about the dangers of “sexting” and “cyberbullying” as part of updated sex education classes, David Cameron has said. The growing incidence of children sharing explicit pictures of themselves on mobile phones has prompted calls for the warnings to start at primary school.

Some studies suggest that a quarter of teenagers have sent “sexts”, or explicit text messages. Mr Cameron, challenged by MPs yesterday about what ministers were doing to combat the trend, acknowledged there was a need to update guidance. Report in full here.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Defamation Act and Louise Mensch comments suggest McAlpine/Bercow Twitter law isn't final

Sally Bercow "learned the hard way" that a single impertinent and nervy tweet is no defense against serious libel charges.  Mr Justice Tugendhat delivered judgment in the case and made precedent to which we are all bound. Twitter may have made publishing vastly easier, but it has not made it responsibility free.

However since the coming into force of the Defamation Act 2013 in England and Wales on January 1 2014, tweets will be required to meet the higher thresholds laid out in the new legislation. How judges interpret the new legislation means that the law will continue to develop. But in the mean time, the McAlpine precedent rests. Media Law NI covered the McAlpine-Bercow case extensively here.

A communication made on Twitter is potentially libellous in England and Wales if it damages someone's reputation "in the estimation of right thinking members of society". It can do this by exposing them to "hatred, ridicule or contempt". This applies also to re-tweets.

Wayne Denner - If your not happy with your message going on a Global Bill Board don't post it Online

Friday, 21 February 2014

The history of privacy in US and UK

Jeff Jarvis (@JeffJarvis) (+Jeff Jarvis), author of 'What Would Google Do?' said at 2m45s into the video above and here:
"There are new morays and new norms that are being created. Technology always frightens us. We did not discuss a legal right to privacy in this nation until 1890 and it was because of the invention of the Kodak camera. Louis Brandeis and his co-author of the Harvard Law Review were frightened because Mr Warren's daughter's wedding had been photographed and the penny press was a way to expand that and we got very scared (see 1890 paper here). And what they came back to in the end, they couldn't find a right to privacy in the US Constitution. We have a right to publicness, it's the First Amendment, but not really a right to privacy. And whenever technology has come it involves change, and change unsettles us and we get scared of of that and then we look for all the bad things that can happen and we worry about it and we should because we should guard against cruelty and bad things that can happen. But we shouldn't manage our whole world around that."
Lord Neuberger, President of the UK Supreme Court, said of privacy in the UK in his address, 'British Law and European Law':

How to deal with Twitter trolls

The trick with trolls is simple. Don't engage. Thomas Jefferson famously said:
"Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances."
A response is exactly what they want. It means their cruel enterprise has succeeded. Silence and non-response is failure for them. For as Nick Cohen said in The Spectator:
"I’ve noticed on Twitter that when someone responds to mad or sexist abuse, rather than ignoring the abuser or blocking him, there is a perceptible moment of delight when the ranter realises that – at last – he has hit his target and made her notice his existence."
Or, if you must, as we looked at here, you can name and shame those online abusers. A technique suggested and practiced by Mary Beard. She said:
"It is a tough call. I have increasingly opted for name and shame."
In the video above and here Duncan James also spoke about "naming and shaming" Twitter trolls. If the menace and abuse escalates you should contact a family member and the police.

DISCLAIMER: None of the above represents legal advice.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Trita Parsi - 'A Tweet In The Right Direction'

Trita Parsi: A Tweet In The Right Direction from The Dish on Vimeo.

We always hear how negative and damaging Twitter and social media can be. But it is undoutedly an incredibly powerful weapon for good. It can even mollify and play a reconciliatory role in the most intractable of issues, that being between Iran and Israel.

Just as a tweet can move people and businesses in the wrong direction, social media has the power to move people in the right direction. Video in full here.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

@clionakimber - Law struggling to keep pace with changes to social media

In an article that focused on heavily on civil wrongs and the civil liabilities of Internet users, barrister Clíona Kimber (@clionakimber) calls for new internet laws and for Internet service providers to take a proactive role in patrolling the online world. She said:
"It can be libellous to communicate in social media, including to tweet or re-tweet, a false statement which harms someone’s reputation. Likewise, if social media is used to publish private information about an individual it could give rise to a potential privacy claim. In both instances, it is possible to seek an injunction and damages. 
This is specialist litigation, and the courts are having to develop new approaches to deal with the speed and ubiquity of internet defamation. Some providers, although based in Ireland, raise jurisdictional issues essentially, maintaining any litigation must be commenced in California. An added complication is that the perpetrator of abuse – who more often than not will have posted under a false identity and/or using more the one account – has to be identified before action can be taken. Victims can get the civil courts to reveal the identity of the user by getting a Norwich Pharmacal Order."

Shami Chakrabarti on #Plebgate turned #Libelgate

Former Conservative Party chief whip Andrew Mitchell
A police officer has brought forth a libel action against Andrew Mitchell after he was branded a "liar". Mitchell is facing large bills to defend himself in the libel action which is supported by the Police Federation. The Independent reports here. The director of Liberty (@libertyhq) Shami Chakrabarti has said that it breaches the human rights of Andrew Mitchell and that the action poses a threat to civil society.

In The Sunday Times of February 16 2014 the human rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti wrote a comment piece, 'A policeman’s lot must include being called a liar.' In that she said that a successful libel action against Andrew Mitchell could set a dangerous precedent:
"The decision of an officer, backed by the Police Federation, to sue Andrew Mitchell for libel over his account of the Plebgate affair risks setting a very troubling precedent that could leave all of us less able to challenge abuses of power and hold the police to account for the normal discharge of their vital duties." 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Trolling happens offline too

The image above is of a letter sent by a troll to ESPN report Jemele Hill. Mashable wrote of the incident here:
"Even in the increasingly social media-driven age we live in, bigoted, vile and oftentimes racist trolling of athletes and celebrities isn't just restricted to Twitter. ESPN reporter Jemele Hill, who is African American, provided a wince-inducing reminder of that on Friday morning when she tweeted out a photo of a slur-riddled piece of hate mail from an ESPN Radio listener with a fondness for capital letters."
New technology always unsettles and sets fear in people. The Economist featured an article 'Social media in the 16th century: how Luther went Viral.' The same abuses, fear, hysteria and concern existed then as it does today.


Saturday, 15 February 2014

Fintan O'Toole - Libel action should be an absolute last resort

In December 2010 The Sunday Times carried a long, anonymous profile of Irish Times columnist Fintan O'Toole and included the assertion that he drove home from an Irish Congress of Trade Unions rally in a BMW 5 Series. As Fintan O'Toole said, the story "was pure invention and almost every “fact” that followed was wildly and demonstrably wrong." He could have sued, but choose not to. He explained:
"The “profile” was, in other words, a gold mine. I had hit the libel jackpot. The Sunday Times couldn’t possibly go into court to defend an article that was so sloppily written and badly researched. Even the most aggressive lawyer would tell them to stuff my mouth with gold and make the whole thing go away fast."

Friday, 14 February 2014

Willie Kealy - Free speech and not gay marriage is the real issue in Ireland

During an interview on RTE's Saturday Night Show (January 1 2014) The gay performance artist Rory O'Neill said that certain specific people in Ireland were homophobic because of their stance on the question of gay marriage and gay adoption. This prompted a deluge of writ letters from those Rory named as homophobic. Following this, RTE apologised and paid out €85,000 in damages. Of these events, Willie Kealy wrote in The Irish Independent: 
"In the real world, that was the end of the "debate". Those who took offence at being called homophobic were able to continue to express their opinions – Breda O'Brien of the Irish Times and David Quinn of the Iona Institute were able to talk or write about it without fear of legal sanction. But otherwise there was nothing. This is because our libel laws are very conducive to closing down any debate that might tend towards the contentious.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Investigative journalism threatened by oppressive libel laws

In an article in the Belfast Telegraph, 'The pressing dangers facing investigative journalism' here, Paul Connolly said:
"A toxic cocktail of declining budgets, oppressive libel laws, especially in Northern Ireland and the Republic, and fragmentation/disruption of audiences are all combining to undermine the fine UK and Irish tradition of investigative reporting. Not necessarily fatally, but there are undoubted pressures."
On January 23 2014 the BBC hosted, 'Investigative Journalism: Present and Future,' an event that explored the role and value of investigative journalism. Paul Connolly said of the event, and again noted the effect of libel law:
"Much debate centred on the nature of the threat to investigative reporting by crumbling media business models and the chilling effect of regulation and libel.
Paul Connolly in full here.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Lord Lexden - Libel veto a "story of evasion and irresponsible delay"

Tory peer Lord Lexden has criticised the Northern Ireland Executive for its failure to implement libel law, calling events a "story of evasion and irresponsible delay". Lord Lexden said that the Defamation Act 2013 represented a "liberalising, modernising law, which will confer lasting benefits throughout society."

He told a committee stage debate on the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill it was "wholly unjustifiable that the people of Northern Ireland should be excluded from the benefits and protections" of this law. He said that the province's exclusion from the Defamation Act 2013 put thousands of publishing jobs at risk and warned that a "dual system" of defamation law would create "doubt and confusion" in an area where clarity was essential. The committee stage was completed.

Read in full here.

Olivia O’Kane - Northern Ireland Media Law Round Up 2013

The Courts in Northern Ireland heard a wide range of media law cases in 2013. In this post I will provide summaries of the most important cases in which judgments were given and are publicly available.

The innocent court reporter

The case of ZY v. Paul Higgins ([2013] NIQB 8) was heard on 25 January 2013. It concerned the Article 2 rights of a convicted child sex offender seeking anonymity to continue after conviction in order to safeguard his wellbeing from risk of suicide within the confines of Prison when it appeared a journalist was to write a piece to distributed to the mainstream media.

On 2 September 2011 ZY, a male in his 20s, was arrested and charged with attempting to blackmail a female in relation to an indecent video recording made when she was 15 years of age; engaging in sexual activity with a minor; and possessing indecent images of children. On 7 December 2012 ZY pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment. Following sentencing, representations were made on behalf of the first defendant journalist, Paul Higgins, seeking revocation of the anonymity order which had been made at the first remand hearing.

[Update] Social media law in Scotland

In an earlier post on Defero Law here, 'Social Media and the Law in England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland', Brian Spencer (@brianjohnspencer) wrote:
"The [social media law] situation hasn't been as fluid in Scotland as it has in England and Wales and elsewhere. The position can be summed up pretty quickly. Where on December 19 2012 the DPP for England and Wales published interim social media guidelines, the lead prosecutor north of the border, the Lord Advocate of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COFPS)said that they would not follow the lead of DPP, Keir Starmer QC. 
The Scottish prosecutor’s position was that they would not hand down social media prosecution guidelines; but would rather continue to take a ‘robust approach’ against offensive material posted online. No definition of the term ‘robust approach’ was given."

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Stormont debates e-safety forum and calls for schools to teach online safety

On February 10 2014 the Northern Ireland Assembly proposed a motion to endorse and support Safer Internet Day 2014 which falls on February 11 and is celebrated worldwide. The motion said:
"Whilst [the internet] poses significant dangers to children and young people, used properly the internet can also positively affect social, economic and educational advancement; acknowledges that all users have a part to play in making the internet a safer and better place for everybody."
The motion made for two interesting recommendations:
  1. Calls upon Her Majesty’s Government to encourage a cross-cutting approach to online safety by incorporating it into the school curriculum, by affording parents and carers easy access to sufficient information to take necessary action. 
  2. [Encourage] businesses and industry to self-regulate their web-based content and services.
On the Monday evening the Members also discussed the January 22 2014 recommendation from The National Children's Bureau that Northern Ireland create an online e-safety forum and that organisations should improve collaboration to combat the threat. We covered the report and recommendations here.


Members endorsed and have given their support to the motion. Read the debate in full here.

Today is Safer Internet Day 2014 - "Let’s create a better internet together"

Today is Safer Internet Day (@safeinternetday). Safer Internet Day is organised by Insafe in February of each year to promote the safe use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people across the world.
Check out the Safer Internet Day website to find out more here. Video above in full here.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Mike Gilson on the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill

Libel reform in Northern Ireland is running over several rails.
  1. By Mike Nesbitt's Defamation (Northern Ireland) Bill whose public consultation received "overwhelming support."
  2. In September 2013 Simon Hamilton asked (here) that the Northern Ireland Law Commission cast a fresh pair of eyes over the decision to veto the Defamation Act 2013. They responded here in December 2013  to look into the issue and recommended a public consultation on the matter.
  3. By means of the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, Westminster peers Lords Lexden, Bew and Black have intervened on the matter via London, ontop of the two prongs operating from Belfast.
The London Bill deals with a number of issues relating to Northern Ireland. But it contains an important amendment that would extend the Defamation Act 2013 to Northern Ireland. In response to this Bill, the editor of the Belfast Telegraph Mike Gilson wrote if it in an article here, 'Libel law reform will protect us all'. He said:

House of Lords moves into Northern Ireland libel law debate

Joanne Fleming reports in the Belfast Telegraph here:
"A CAMPAIGN to bring Northern Ireland's libel laws into line with the rest of the UK will take a step forward today as the House of Lords leaps into the debate over free speech. A proposal to extend the Defamation Act 2013 to Northern Ireland is to be made at a Bill committee meeting this afternoon, and if approved would force a response from the Government. 
Peers want to bring the act into law here by simply adding the words "and Northern Ireland" into a section of the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill which refers to the Defamation Act being in force in England and Wales. The shrewd move could mean Westminster becoming embroiled in what is a devolved issue. 
Recent changes to laws in England and Wales have been designed to stop the UK becoming a hotspot for "libel tourists". They removed the presumption in favour of a trial by jury in defamation cases. The move – which involves Lord Black of Brentwood, Lord Lexden and Queen's University academic Lord Bew – follows a show of public support here for the Defamation Act being extended to Northern Ireland.
This of course refers to the "overwhelming support" given by the public to Mike Nesbitt's libel reform bill, see here and here. Four of the five parties support libel reform, that being the SDLP, UUP, Alliance and Sinn Fein, see here. The News Letter support libel reform, see here. The Belfast Telegraph supports libel reform, see here. The Belfast Telegraph also opposes the proposed Royal Charter that follows the Leveson Inquiry, see here. Mike Harris from Index on Censorship has spoken here of the urgency to reform libel laws in Northern Ireland. Index on Censorship had earlier made representations before a Stormont Committee here. Their letter here.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Mick Hume - Northern Ireland's libel law is an execrable affront to freedom of expression

After Leveson - Mick Hume from Ellwood Atfield on Vimeo, August 2013.

London journalist Mick Hume is spiked’s editor-at-large and editor of the new book 'There is No Such Thing as a Free Press… And We Need One More Than Ever.' He opposed the Defamation Act 2013 for not going far enough. He has written on it, free speech generally and Leveson here, here and here.

Mick Hume also opposed the recent intervention into Northern Ireland politics by the House of Lords as members attempt to push forward with libel reform. Writing in the Belfast Telegraph here, Mick Hume explained the he himself has been both defamed by the media and sued in the libel courts. Mick Hume gave his comprehensive guide to the complexities of defamation law:
  1. Northern Ireland's existing libel law is an execrable affront to freedom of expression;
  2. The proposed reforms from England would make some aspects of the law better – but render some even worse;
  3. Either way, it is none of the House of Lords' business.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Lord Lester - 'Free Speech, Reputation and Media Intrusion'

Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC, the original architect of the Defamation Act 2013, delivered the opening speech to the Hong Kong University Conference Media Law Policy in the Internet Age on October 18 2013 here, 'Free Speech, Reputation and Media Intrusion: Law Reform Now'.
"A difficult problem has arisen since the enactment of the Defamation Act. Under our system of devolved government, the Westminster Parliament may legislate in this area for England and Wales, but not for Scotland and Northern Ireland to whose governments and legislatures public powers has been devolved. Defamation law is a devolved subject. Historically, the law of defamation has been the same in England and Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland’s government has adopted some very limited aspects of the legislation. Northern Ireland’s coalition government of opposing parties indicated initially that it had no plans to review the law of defamation. It was ironical that the DUP, committed to keeping Northern Ireland within the UK should decide to sever Northern Ireland from England and Wales in this area of law. During a debate in the House of Lords in June, reference was made to the view of a senior Belfast lawyerwho wrote this:

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The Libel Reform Campaign - The battle to modernise libel law continues

The Libel Reform Campaign here that the battle to reform libel law continues, now in Northern Ireland. At present people in England and Wales enjoy greater free speech protections than those in Northern Ireland. They said:
"We may have achieved libel reform in England & Wales, but the battle to modernise libel law continues elsewhere in the UK. Can you help us? 
As you may have read, the Northern Ireland Executive has not yet extended the Defamation Act 2013 into Northern Irish law. In fact, former finance minister Sammy Wilson MLA said he had "no plans to review the law on defamation in Northern Ireland" and told his Stormont colleagues that the threat to free speech was "just a lot of nonsense".

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

BBC, News Letter and Belfast Telegraph respond to "overwhelming support" for Libel reform

The public consultation into Mike Nesbitt's libel reform Bill (drafted in May and introduced in June 2013 here) received "overwhelming support". On January 29 2014 The News Letter gave its view on developments here:
"Reading about the massive public support for reforming Northern Ireland’s libel laws, many will wonder why an issue over which there is near-unanimous agreement was blocked from even entering the Assembly. Some fear that by referring the issue to the Law Commission, Mr Hamilton is attempting to block Mr Nesbitt’s bill. Given the results of Mr Nesbitt’s consultation, such a course of action would be difficult to explain. As a new minister, Mr Hamilton has a chance here to nail his colours to the mast. 
Free speech is too important to be mired in party politicking."
Read The Libel Reform Campaign's response to Nesbitt here. Earlier post on the public consultation here (Belfast Telegraph here, News Letter here, BBC here).

Monday, 3 February 2014

James Delingpole - "Twitter is a publishing medium more dangerous than any that has ever before existed"

James Delingpole (@JamesDelingpole) wrote an article in The Spectator magazine, 'How Twitter almost destroyed me.' He called Twitter, "the perpetually gaping maw of the gigantic elephant trap that is Twitter." He said of the micro-blogging site here:
"Twitter is a publishing medium more dangerous than any that has ever before existed. The problem is that it is once trivially ephemeral and hideously permanent. Whatever your state of mind, whether you’re drunk or sober, depressed or euphoric, it’s there waiting to capture your every thought from the moment you wake up to the moment you check your Twitter feed one last time before you go to sleep."

Sunday, 2 February 2014

SDLP, Alliance, UUP and Sinn Fein support libel reform

In the Belfast Telegraph of September 16 2013 here, the editor of that paper Mike Gilson welcomed the decision of Simon Hamilton to refer the Defamation Act 2013 to the NI Law Commission (we posted here). In that report he said:
"This is an important subject, and the UUP leader Mike Nesbitt and the Sinn Fein MLA Daithi McKay deserve credit for keeping up the pressure on this issue."
The News Letter reported in March 2013 here:
"The SDLP and Alliance Party have since said that they support the reform. And the SDLP said that the decision was not taken by the five-party Executive but by Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness’ department."