Media law lecture -- Feb. 13 Libel law pt. ???
February 13, 2012
From last week
Reynolds Defence: Defence of responsible journalism on matters of real public interest.
Offer of amends
- An honest mistake is made, publisher admits it and offers some way to amend situation.
Defence of innocent dissemination
- Defendent was not the author, took reasonable care to prevent its publication and was not responsible for it.
Difference between general and special damages
- General: can be proved to have resulted from the libel itself. General sum to represent losses. Up to ~£200,000 for individuals; lower for companies (they don’t have feeeeeelings.)
Questions for next week:
Two strands to Reynolds:
- What is the stance of the report?
- Is it adopting the truth of the allegations or merely reporting the allegation had been made?
- Tone/use of language?
- Neuberger — qualified privilege must be without malice. I.e., if a parliamentarian breaks an injunction and reporting is done maliciously in order to defeat the purpose of the injunction, papers may be held in contempt.
Robert v. Gable (2006)
- Two BNP members were accused of taking collections after a rally.
- Reported in Searchlight.
- Article didn’t take sides, and though there was no reflection of the response of individuals, did not matter as was information public was entitled to know (in addition to public interest) and the publication itself was neutral.
Where problems can arise
Libel law reform
- CFAs, libel tourism, clamp on free speech
- Jury are asked to award a significant sum of money to set an example and send a message.
- Court order preventing publication of material
- Rule against prior restraint
Basic principle of libel law is that courts are very hesitant to award pre-publication injunctions. Defendants are expected to publish in good faith and deal with libel if it exists.
“The truth should out”.
- It’s important for the information to come up, and if it’s wrong, for the subject to receive damages. The priority isn’t to prevent information from coming out.
Bonnard v. Perryman
- Applicant has to show they’re right.
- Much more likely to get an injunction for privacy and confidentiality
§12(3) HRA 1998 — If the court was considering some sort of relief, no such relief is to be granted before trial unless the applicant is able to show that they’re likely to win.
- Lower test than Bonnard v. Perryman.
Greene v. ANL (2004)
- Test had shifted from Bonnard v. Perryman due to HRA.
- Ruled that Bonnard v. Perryman was still good law.
Statement in open court
- If there is a settlement, claimant can ask for a statement in open court.
- Claimant will set out nature of complaint, publisher will confirm what claimant says.
Rothschild v. Associated Newspapers Limited
- Case last week — not necessarily important (based on facts) but good judgement of court judgement on libel case.
Interface between libel and other areas of law
Protecting a Journalist’s Sources
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