Date

Sat - 18.11.2017


laws

A bill that would create harsher punishments for those who attack journalists has been submitted to the lower house of the country's parliament, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported. However, the legislation is "not enough," said lawmaker Irina Yarovaya.

Earlier this month, two journalists were violently attacked in Moscow. Oleg Kashin was beaten outside of his home and had to be put into an induced coma, and Anatoly Adamchuk was attacked two days later, according to Journalism.co.uk.

Photo via RIA Novosti: Oleg Kashin, a reporter for Kommersant, was beaten outside his home earlier this month.
Russia has one of the worst safety records for journalists in the world, ranked fifth, behind Iraq, the Philippines, Colombia and Mexico, according tot he International Press Institute. At least 35 journalists were murdered in Russia between 2000 and 2009, RIA Novosti noted.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2010-11-30 16:57

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission today called off closed-door talks it was having with lobbyists on network neutrality, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The announcement came a day after news reports broke that an unannounced deal between mobile phone giant Verizon Communications Inc. and Google Inc. on their own network management practices had been made. Under the agreement, Verizon would have been able to prioritize some broadband traffic.

Image: A protester shows support for network neutrality in Canada in 2008.

Net neutrality means that no form of content is favoured over another. The opposite of net neutrality is a tiered system, which imposes costs based on levels of service. This means higher costs are levelled on premium levels of service, such as with cable television.

The FCC's negotiations have "not generated a robust framework to preserve the openness and freedom of the Internet - one that drives innovation, investment, free speech and consumer choice," Edward Lazarus, the FCC's chief of staff, said in a statement, according to PCWorld. "All options remain on the table as we continue to seek broad input on this vital issue."

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2010-08-06 00:00

Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress may not agree on much, but in a rare event there was bipartisan support on a libel tourism bill, also know as The SPEECH Act (Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage). If signed into law, the United States government would no longer uphold judgments of defamation abroad that conflict with the First Amendment, which upholds freedom of speech. This more liberal version of the libel tourism law calls into question the UK's more rigid stance on the issue.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2010-07-29 17:03

Italy's Assembly approved yesterday several amendments to bill that would limit the use of wiretaps during police investigations and would ban media from publishing transcriptions of these conversations, Reuters reported.

One of the major changes is that newspapers will be allowed to publish transcripts "when considered relevant by investigating magistrates," Il Sole 24 Ore noted.

However, editors who run "irrelevant" transcripts or records of conversation set to be destroyed after an investigation will face heavy fines.

Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who proposed this law to protect the privacy, was not happy about the modifications.

"The wiretaps law will change little from the current situation, and therefore will not allow Italians to speak freely on the phone," he said, The Guardian quoted.

Now, the bill is expected to be voted, article-by-article, on July 29.

Author

Clara Mart

Date

2010-07-23 18:49

In an effort to cut down on "libel tourism" and better protect freedom of speech for media outlets and those working in the research sector, the UK government will review its laws as part of a libel reform campaign, MediaGuardian reported today.

The government is looking to introduce a bill soon, and today the Ministry of Justice announced it will conduct a consultation over the summer, and put a draft defamation bill before Parliament early next year, according to the Press Association.

"In reviewing the law we want to focus on ensuring that freedom of speech and academic debate are protected and a fair balance is struck between freedom of expression and the protection of reputation," Justice Minister Lord McNally said, according to the PA article published by the Independent. "We want to ensure that the right balance is achieved so people who have been defamed are able to take action to protect their reputation but so that freedom of speech is not unjustifiably impeded."

Journalists, academics and people in the scientific community who want to write reports that may be viewed as unfavourable to their subjects or third parties are usually subjected to threats from accusers who know the current libel laws are on their side, as the burden of proof rests on the defendant.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2010-07-10 02:42

Former newspaper baron Conrad Black may be a free man before his six and a half year sentence at Florida's Coleman prison is up, thanks to a ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court today.

In a dramatic decision, the court narrowed the scope of a federal fraud law that states a crime is committed when one "deprive[s] another of the intangible right of honest services," because it is too broad in its scope and too vague to constitute a crime unless a bribe or kickback is involved, the Chicago Tribune reported. Black was convicted in 2007 of one count of obstruction of justice and three counts of fraud, and along with former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, had appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court. The non-fraud convictions on both men still stand.

Image via Reuters, Black faces the press in Chicago in 2007.
Black once was head of the Hollinger International media company, controlling ome of the most influential newspapers in the world. He had a fortune estimated at £136 million, and owned more than 200 newspapers at the height of his career, including the Jerusalem Post, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Telegraph titles in Britain.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2010-06-24 19:15

Popular tech blog Gizmodo's leak of the new iPhone prototype has garnered the attention of more than just interested Apple fanatics. Last Friday, Gizmodo editor Jason Chen arrived home around 9:45 to find police in his home, removing 4 computers and 2 servers with a search warrant signed by the judge of the Superior Court of San Mateo as their defense. In response, Gawker Chief Operating Officer and legal counsel Gaby Derbyshire claims this search was illegal under a California shield law created especially to protect journalists, and that the police must return Chen's belongings.

What has since erupted across the web and likely in legal courts soon is a debate over the legality of Gizmodo's iPhone scoop, the application of the untested shield law, and, most fundamentally, whether bloggers are considered journalists in the eyes of the law.

For more on this story visit our sister publication, editorsweblog.org.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2010-04-28 21:05

The American Society of Media Photographers has filed a lawsuit against Google over its Book Search, which aims to make a digital library of scanned books, The Register reported today. The service is also being sued by American authors and publishers.

The photographers' trade association states in the suit that Google is illegally scanning and displaying millions of books without getting approval from those who control the rights to photos and other artwork within the titles. The lawsuit is seeking compensation from Google, and is similar to the lawsuit brought by writers over the same issue.

"If there is going to be a system developed to manage the compensation for these types of books, we felt visual artists need to be represented," Eugene Mopsik, the executive director of the ASMP, told Wired in an interview. "We have been totally excluded. We want a seat at the table."

However, the Author's Guild and other publishing groups have agreed to allow Google to scan their books, sell them online and allow them to be included in search, according to Wired. Those that hold rights to the content get 67 percent of the profits, and Google gets the remaining 33 percent.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2010-04-09 04:10

Fiji may put in place a new law that states in every media organisation within the country, "all the directors ... must be citizens of Fiji permanently residing in Fiji," Stuff.co.nz reported. The move would force Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd out of the country. News Ltd owns The Fiji Times, the country's largest and oldest daily.

The draft, Media Industry Development Decree 2010, provides for the establishment of a Media Development Authority and a complaints tribunal that would have the power to fine news organisations and imprison journalists for up to five years, according to Pacific.Scoop.co.nz.

Photo: Voreqe Bainimarama

The Times "has long been an irritant for the regime, which has sought to gag this newspaper along with Fiji Television," Pacific.Scoop.co.nz reported.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2010-04-08 06:12

Amendments tabled to the Digital Economy Bill by Lord Lucas could protect search engines from copyright liability in the United Kingdom, PressGazette reported yesterday. However, this would not apply to content on a Web site that used technology to block crawlers, such as robots.txt.

"Brilliant. Immediately all of the rows and back-and-forth between ill-advised newspapers and publishers is given a clear legal footing. It would be legal to be a search engine, and you can tell them to keep out if you wish. A few sentences saves millions of pounds of court costs and clears the headaches of everyone involved," Ian Douglas wrote for Telegraph.co.uk.
If the amendment is passed, it could make it impossible for sites that have not blocked content from search engines to sue for copyright infringement.

The bill also would allow copyright creators to re-market their content by obtaining a license to publish it themselves if the copyright owner does not offer it across formats and in all regions within two years. If it is not published at all within five years, the creator also has a right to obtain a license, as well as legally settle the dispute with a cap of £1,000 on legal expenses, according to Douglas.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2010-01-14 00:01

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