Category Archives: Media law

Powers takes step toward new-media regulation

VIRGINIA McMILLAN: Justice Minister Simon Power is calling cyberspace a “bit of a Wild West” as he announces a major review of media regulation.

The Law Commission has the job of examining new media and its intersection with the justice system.

The work will be led by the commission’s chairman, lawyer Sir Geoffrey Palmer, and policy adviser, former Sunday Star-Times editor Cate Honore Brett.

Questions will include:

  • How to define “news media” for the purposes of the law.
  • Whether and to what extent the jurisdiction of the Broadcasting Standards Authority and/or the Press Council should be extended to cover currently unregulated news media, and if so what legislative changes would be required to achieve this.
  • Whether existing criminal and civil remedies for wrongs such as defamation, harassment, breach of confidence, and privacy are effective in the new media environment, and if not whether alternative remedies are available.

The minister’s release is here.

Whale Oil (Cameron Slater) has collated a colourful array of responses from bloggers, many incensed at an assumed threat of censorship.

All is not well amid name-suppression rejig

VIRGINIA McMILLAN: A day after the New Zealand Government announced ministers had signed off proposals for new name suppression law, NewstalkZB was reporting here a blogger had revealed the identity of a man arrested in an alleged electoral scam.
Meanwhile, Radio New Zealand has an article here quoting critics of the proposals to make suppression harder to obtain.
NewstalkZB is also citing concerns of internet entrepreneur Lance Wiggs that websites will still be able to host supressed information offshore.

Under fire: Bloggers’ citing and linking rights

Whitireia journalism student HANNA BUTLER alerts us to a chilling new practice emerging among media companies.

As reported by Megan Tady, a legal firm is targeting bloggers on behalf of publishers suing them for sharing entire articles, linking to an attributed article, or even hosting a forum where readers include links to articles in comment sections.  The moves are revealed in the nonprofit and independent newsmagazine In These Times.

(See Megan’s article: Copyright Enragement — In These Times.)

Steven Price’s take on Whale Oil suppression decision

STEVEN PRICE: 70 pages! It took Judge David Harvey that long to establish that Whale Oil (a) had a case to answer for breaching a range of name suppression orders and (b) was guilty. READ MORE>

News of the world of tabloid hacks

VIRGINIA McMILLAN: The Guardian has led recent reporting on phone-hacking allegations against fellow British newspaper News of the World.
Nick Davies, critic of journalism practice in the book Flat Earth News, has a string of investigative and news stories on the phone-hacking scandal here.
Davies also unearths some of the thousands of names targeted by the News of the World’s private investigator.

COMMENTARY: New Zealand’s draconian suicide reporting laws

SUNDAY STAR-TIMES: Under New Zealand’s draconian media law, it is conceivable that, were jets full of suicidal ideologues to plunge into the Beehive, the news media would be inclined to report it with the Soviet-era phrasing it has taken to using where suicides are suspected: “The police are not seeking anyone else in connection with the incident.” READ MORE>

WikiLeaks: The Guardian tackles big data

VIRGINIA McMILLAN: Staff from British newspaper The Guardian have analysed their own reporting/ethical and data analysis approaches to the massive bulk of data they received on Afghanistan via WikiLeaks.

What got The Guardian started? Investigations executive editor David Leigh writes:

What actually happened was that my Guardian colleague Nick Davies, in an inspired moment, tracked down nomadic WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, in Brussels, about a month ago.

In six hours of intensive talks, Davies established three things that could never have happened before the internet age.

One, that the US army had built a huge database with six years of sensitive military intelligence material in it. Two, that many thousands of US soldiers had access to this electronic archive, and some had been able to download copies.

And three, WikiLeaks now had one copy which it proposed to publish immediately online, via a series of uncensorable global servers. READ MORE HERE.

On the nerds team, hugely important in this exercise, was Simon Rogers, who reflects for  on the unpacking of 90,000 rows of data.