Timeline of Articles

July 3 2013
'Stormont must give us a libel law fit for modern age,' writes Mike Harris in the Belfast Telegraph. Mike is head of advocacy at the Index on Censorship and his article was also featured on that website here. Mike wrote:
"It is extremely unfortunate that Sammy Wilson, the Minister of Finance and Personnel, personally vetoed adoption of the Defamation Bill without scrutiny by either the Assembly or the Executive.  
The worry is that “libel tourists” such as corrupt businessmen, powerful vested interests and global corporations may begin to use the High Court in Belfast to silence their critics using Northern Ireland’s unreformed law.
June 2 2013
'Libel law fears are nonsense: Sammy Wilson,' reports the Belfast Telegraph.

June 28 2013
'Libel lawyer Tweed says: I didn't lobby Sammy Wilson to stymie legislation,' in the Belfast Telegraph.

 June 28 2013
'Lords criticise Stormont delay on libel reform,' wrote the Index on Censorship.

June 27 2013
Mike Nesbitt said that the wealthy are gagging the media, here.

June 27 2013
'Northern Ireland decides not to follow English and Welsh libel reforms: Northern Ireland minister for finance and personnel says he has 'no plans to review the law on defamation' in province,' wrote the Guardian.

June 20 2013
DPP publishes final guidelines for prosecutions involving social media communications, available here.

June 11 2013
Paul Tweed argued at the Index on Censorship panel discussion that 'freedom of expression must be protected, but that controls are needed to prevent the undermining of reputation and privacy'.
Read more about the event 'Caught in the web: How free are we online?' here.

June 5 2013
Paul Tweed in the Huffington Post wrote: 'Belfast or Dublin to Be the Next Libel Capital of the World?'
*I cover Paul Tweed's comments on this blog with, 'Belfast may lose 'libel capital of the world' title to Dublin, says Paul Tweed'.

May 15 2013
'Stormont failure to implement Defamation Act could undermine Northern Ireland editions of UK nationals,' wrote the Press Gazette here.

May 14 2013
Full text of Mike Nesbitt’s draft Defamation (Northern Ireland) Bill here.

May 14 2013
Article entitled 'Policing social media versus free speech' published on the detail.tv, available here.

*This article also revealed that the PPS in Northern Ireland is currently drafting interim guidelines specific to Northern Ireland for dealing with cases involving social media. In the same article a spokesperson for the PSNI said:
"It is important to state that certain comments which individuals post on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter may be distasteful, grossly offensive or hurtful, but this does not necessarily mean that they are unlawful."
May 14 2013
Sam McBride is asked on BBC NI coverage about Mike Nesbitt's Defamation Bill and the controversy around the issue. He responded:
"Has massive implications for national papers and local journalists. What Mike Nesbitt's private member's Bill intends to do is to reform our Victorian era libel laws and bring us into line with GB." 
May 13 2013
'The Defamation Act 2013 and its explanatory notes,' wrote Olivia O'Kane of Carson McDowell.

May 10 2013
'Libel begins at Larne' writes the Index on Censorship.

May 9 2013
'Free speech: as Sammy Wilson speaks out, questions still remain,' wrote Liam Clarke in the Belfast Telegraph.

May 5 2013
'Northern Ireland and the mystery of the missing Defamation Act,' on the Inforrm blog here.

May 5 2013
Charlie Brooker wrote about social media in the Guardian here:
"The takeaway message for wannabe politicians is this: your social media footprint is a skidmark of shame and a weapon for your enemies."

May 2 2013
Media lawyer Olivia O'Kane at Carson McDowell expresses concern at non-implementation of libel law:
May 2 2013
The Index on Censorship and other lobby groups wrote a letter to the Committee for finance and personnel. Read it here.

May 1 2013
'Northern Ireland lawyer to stars Paul Tweed wants it made easier, not harder, to sue,' reports the Belfast Telegraph.

April 30 2013
'Stormont veto of free speech law ‘will put off investors’,' wrote the News Letter.

April 25 2013
'Libel Cases Now Harder to Bring in England,' reported the New York Times. They said:
"Under the new law, claimants wanting to sue defendants who do not live in Europe will have to prove that England is the most appropriate place for the case. This is intended to stop foreigners from suing other foreigners in English courts over, for instance, books or magazines that have sold just a handful of copies here, or Web sites that have been viewed few or even no times. 
The new law applies only to England and Wales; Scotland and Northern Ireland have different systems."
April 23 2013
'Matt Baggott on... social media,' reports Alan in Belfast on Slugger O'Toole.

April 22 2013
Olivia O'Kane attended IBC Legal event and tweeted how Belfast could become libel capital:
April 11 2013
'UK Press Regulation: To Sign Up or Not to Sign Up, That Is the Question?' asks Paul Tweed in the Huffington Post.

April 8 2013
The Law Society of Northern Ireland publishes warning for social media users, 'Posting on Social Media Websites Could Cost You'.
This is another boiler plate publication, the same as one published on August 20 2012 here.

April 4 2013
'Britain seeks opt-out of new European social media privacy laws,' writes the Guardian.

April 3 2013
Sammy Wilson accused of spin over non-implementation of libel law after saying judges were better placed to make new law, reports the News Letter.

March 30 2013
Libel tourism warning for Northern Ireland from Belfast lawyer writes the Belfast Telegraph.

March 26 2013
'Review of global climate on press freedom and digital freedom,' writes Index on Censorship.

March 25 2013
'‘Small-scale’ bloggers hear the chimes of freedom,' writes Sebastian Payne in the Spectator.

March 21 2013
'Hacked Off Faces Backlash from Thousands of Bloggers Effort to Exclude Small Enterprises from “Relevant Publisher”' writes Guido Fawkes.

March 21 2013
''Twitter breach' of ban naming offender,' reports UTV.

March 20 2013
Social media and the law in Ireland, presentation to the Oireachtas Committee for communications.

March 18 2013
'IRA Twitter photo 'was child abuse'' reports the BBC.

March 18 2013
'Bloggers ‘caught in newspaper crackdown’ as parties agree Leveson deal,' reports the Metro.

March 18 2013
'Press regulation – what does it mean for bloggers?' writes Charles Christian on the Legal Tech blog.

March 18 2013
'Scotland, and Northern Ireland and the Defamation Bill,' writes blogger on Inforrm blog.

March 7 2013
''May be gap' in social media law says Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte,' reports the Irish Times. Silicon Republic also reports here.

February 23 2013
'Facebook didn’t start the flag riots' writes Dr. Paul Reilly.

February 18 2013
'Staying on the right side of the law' by Wayne Denner with McKinty and Wright here.

February 15 2013
'Social media teen fights spread to Co Down' reports the News Letter.

February 15 2013 
'Google must act quicker on libellous blog posts, court rules' reports Digital Spy here.

February 13 2013 
Northern Ireland PPS considers publishing bespoke social media policy document.
UTV report, VIDEO and analysis here. This also includes comments from media lawyers Paul Tweed and Olivia O'Kane.

February 7 2013
'Social media provide police boost' writes the Belfast Telegraph.

February 6 2013
'Social Media, Free Speech and the Law' - speech by Keir Starmer QC (former DPP) at Chatham House available here.

February 6 2013 
Three employees of a Belfast company were awarded £35,000 in damages after an anonymous troll wrote abuse about them on Facebook.
UTV report available here and BBC here and here (some prefatory links on this case here and here)

February 5 2013
Stormont debate on controlling social media.
Motion: Regulation of Social Networking Websites        
Ms R McCorley, Mr R McCartney, Mr S Lynch (Up to 1 hour 30 mins)  
Full transcript of Plenary session available here.

February 2 2013
Man released after arrested for comments on social media about Union flag removal and unrest.
RTE report here and BBC reporting here.

January 26 2013
'Mary Beard: I almost didn't feel such generic, violent misogyny was about me,' reports the Guardian.

January 23 2013 
'PSNI to 'step up' flag protest arrests,' writes UTV.

January 9 2013
(ROI) 'Twitter defamation first may be the tip of the iceberg,' writes Silicon Republic.

January 4 2013
Trolling happens online too, says report on Mashable.

January 4 2013
Twitter’s challenge for 2013: Resisting state demands for censorship, writes paidcontent.org.

December 27 2012
- 4,908 social media incidents reported to the police in England and Wales in 2012.
- 653 social media users charged for misuse.
Reporting from the BBC here and analysis from my blog here.

December 27 2012
Year In Review 2012: What Did Leveson And Twitter Prosecutions Do For Free Speech? asks the Huffington Post. Here's a standout excerpt from Kirsty Hughes of Index on Censorship:
“In a plural society that respects free expression, there is no right not to be offended, and these guidelines acknowledge that.
There's almost a criminalisation of adolescence, and of poor literacy, that's one issue that seems to have emerged. The communications laws being used are for grossly offensive messages. Offence as the trigger for prosecution is still a big problem... 
So by using offence as the trigger for prosecution, you are putting the power of censorship into the hands of people who may chose to be offended for political gain. That's a big deal for censorship."
Mike Harris, head of advocacy of Index on Censorship said:
 "We are all getting used to social media, but we regulate ourselves when having a conversation in a public place, I believe over time, people will begin to think twice about saying defamatory or violent things online.  
There is a difference between writing something defamatory on Twitter, and it being on the news. The main difference is that we don't believe everything we see on Twitter is true. You'd have to be totally incredulous to think that.  
We are exposed to more and more content, some of which we will find objectionable, and eventually, we will self-filter. People have just got to become more robust towards free expression. A really fundamental human right is free expression, and to close down speech we find offensive, we get into a bind."
December 19 2012
CPS publishes interim social media prosecution guidelines, available here. CPS also launched public consultation, available here.

December 19 2012
DPP, Keir Starmer QC slaps down John Cooper QC criticisms on interim guidance, available here on Legal Cheek.

December 19 2012
'New prosecution guidance on offensive speech online: sensible, but the law is still out of date,' Adam Wagner responds to interim social media prosecution guidelines.

December 11 2012
'Social media 'stoking' NI violence,' reports UTV.

December 6 2012
'PSNI to study social media after violence,' reports PSNI.

November 29 2013
(ROI) 'High Court grants orders to identify firm’s anonymous online accusers,' writes Silicon Republic.

November 13 2012
Solicitor Olivia O'Kane talks to Frank about the legal implications of twitter, available here.

November 13 2012
'Does Keir Starmer see the problem with poppy burners?' asks Index on Censorship.

October 17 2012
'Facebook and Twitter could need new legislation,' reports the Telegraph.

October 11 2012
'Social media laws to be discussed in wake of prosecutions,' reports the BBC.

September 21 2012
Hugh James solicitors wrote: 'Social media guidelines well overdue.'

September 21 2012
Paul Chambers responds to DPP announcement on social media prosecutions, available here.

 - September 20 2012
'DPP to issue guidelines on prosecutions over Facebook and Twitter abuse,' reports the Guardian.

August 20 2012
Law Society of Northern Ireland publishes warning for social media users, 'Posting on Social Media Websites Could Cost You'.

May 11 2012
Attorney General Dominic Grieve issued warned for social media users.

May 10 2012
The Northern Ireland-based online news outlet, the Detail interviewed international libel lawyer Paul Tweed, 'The clash between freedom of speech and personal reputation'.

May 8 2012
'Twitter: We’re still the free-speech wing of the free-speech party,' reports Gigaom staffer.

April 26 2012
NI employee fairly dismissed for vulgar Facebook comments writes Thompsons Solicitors here.

March 27 2012
Student jailed for racist Fabrice Muamba tweets, reports the Guardian.

July 29 2011
Man fined for threatening Gregory Campbell on Facebook.
BBC analysis here.

- November 16 2010 #TwitterJokeTrial
'Twitter and the bomb joke that's blown justice to bits,' reports the Daily Mail.

September 2 2010
'Libel tourism is a very rare things in UK courts, study finds' writes Out-law.com.

March 12 2009
'Indefinite liability for online libel must end,' writes Out-law.com.

March 11 2009
'"Ceaseless liability" for internet libel is not a barrier to free speech, rules ECHR,' reports Out-law.com.

December 6 2007
Out-law.com asked, 'Are libel laws wrong?'

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