Presenting Within The English Law

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May 19, 2013

Presenting Within The English Law

A presentation from Verity Hilton on the Ofcom guidelines.



May 19, 2013



    English LAW!
  2. 2 THE LAW  Defamation  Privacy  Contempt 

    Victims of Sexual Offences  Jigsaw identification  Reporting Restrictions  Children and the Law  Copyright and other intellectual property rights  Data Protection Act VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  3. 3 DEFAMATION  An individual can sue for damage to

    their reputation caused by material broadcast or published to a third party – including online!  This area of the law is called DEFAMATION or libel. It is the biggest legal pitfall relating to our output with serious consequences if we get it wrong.  Any individual or company can sue as long as they are reasonably identifiable from what is said and the material is defamatory of them. This means that it would tend to lower them in the estimation of right-thinking people generally. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  4. 4  The claimant does not need to show that

    they suffered any actual damage, nor what was said was false. On the contrary, the defendant generally has to prove that it was true.  If involved in an action for defamation there are a number of possible defences, but generally you will need to have good evidence to back up what you say – hence the need to write everything down and know what your caller is talking about before they go to air! VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  5. 5 PRIVACY  Until recently there was no right to

    privacy in the UK.  This changed in October 2000 with the incorporation into the UK law of the European Convention on Human Rights which includes a right to Privacy! Individuals can now take action to enforce that right and can ask a court to grant an injunction to stop stories about their private lives being made public. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  6. 6  If there is a reasonable expectation of privacy,

    the court will seek to balance the individual’s right to privacy against the media’s right to freedom of expression.  When broadcasting a story which contains private information, each piece of information will need to be considered separately. If private information is conveyed with pictures, these will be subjected to special scrutiny. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  7. 7 CONTEMPT  Contempt of court is the body of

    the law which protects the integrity of the legal process from outside influences. Contempt can take many forms but by far the most serious is publication when legal proceedings are said to be “active”.  In most cases the “active” period starts with the granting of an arrest warrant, the arrest of a suspect or the issue of a summons or indictment. This may well be well before a person is charged! VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  8. 8  Once a case is “active”, anything which creates

    a substantial risk that the course of justice will be seriously prejudiced or impeded will be a contempt of court. This is the case regardless of intent. A serious prejudice might include the broadcast of previous convictions.  These rules apply to all courts and tribunals exercising the judicial authority. However, the risk is highest when the case is due to be heard by a lay jury and particular care should be taken with coverage immediately before a jury trial. Reports of the trail itself are safe so long as they are fair and accurate.  It is now possible for the courts to order third parties such as us to bear the costs of a trial abandoned as a result of broadcast of material, even if this does not amount to a contempt of court. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  9. 9 VICTIMS OF SEXUAL OFFENCES  By law, all victims

    of rape and other sex crimes, including children, are automatically guaranteed anonymity for life from the moment they make a complaint that they are a victim of a sex crime.  These restrictions only apply to identifying the person as being the VICTIM of an alleged sexual offence. They do not prevent the identification of the person in other contexts. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  10. 10  Judges may on occasion lift the restrictions at

    the request of the defence. They can do this to get witnesses to come forward and to ensure a fair trial, or to allow the reasonable reporting of a case of public interest.  If a victim were identified in another, unrelated, criminal case, then the reporting of that case would not be restricted. Victims can be identified if they agree to it. The consent should be in writing and must not be the result of any pressure. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  11. 11 JIGSAW IDENTIFICATION  Content producers and presenters should be

    aware of the risk of “jigsaw” identification.  There may be legal reasons why the identity of one or more of those involved in a trial may not be reported. Reporting what a judge has forbidden to be reported, or a statutory restriction such as not revealing the identity of a victim of a sexual offence would be contempt of court. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  12. 12  If it is necessary to protect the identity

    of crime victims and witnesses, anonymity normally means no name, no address, no photograph or any other clue as to identity. We should also take care not to identify people indirectly because of what is known as the “jigsaw” effect. This occurs when separate reports, which could be in different media, give different details of a case which when pieced together reveal the identity of the person involved. The risk is at its highest when reporting sexual crime within the family. We should not use the word incest where someone might be identified as the victim. Incest should be described as a “serious sexual offence.” VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  13. 13 REPORTING RESTRICTIONS  There are a number of other

    situations in which reporting restrictions either apply automatically, or can be specifically ordered by a court.  Automatic restrictions apply to reports of preliminary/committal proceedings in magistrates courts in England – we can only report certain very basic details.  Also proceedings under the Children Act. We must not publish anything which is likely to identify any child as being involved in such proceedings. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  14. 14  These restrictions can be lifted or varied by

    a court.  Some of the more common restrictions include;  Section 39 orders preventing the identification of under 18’s involved in proceedings before an adult court;  Postponement orders preventing publication of reports of proceedings until after the conclusion of related proceedings or until the court lifts or varies the restrictions;  Anonymity orders, where the court has allowed a person’s details to be withheld – e.g. blackmail cases. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  15. 15 CHILDREN AND THE LAW  Children under the age

    of 18 are usually dealt with in the Youth Courts.  In Youth court proceedings there is an automatic ban on anything which might lead to the identification of a witness, defendant or other party in those proceeding who is under 18. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  16. 16  The restrictions include:  The naming of schools

    and of addresses  Not showing pictures of anyone under 18.  In other courts, there is no automatic restriction but the court can make an order preventing identification of a child involved in the proceedings.  Other court proceedings involving children may be heard in Magistrates Courts, County Courts or the High Court. They may deal with care proceedings, adoption or guardianship. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  17. 17  In any courts sitting in private it is

    usually a contempt to broadcast detailed accounts of child related hearings. This will include proceedings involving ward ship, adoption and guardianship of an infant.  In ward ship cases it is not a contempt to report the courts order or an accurate summary of it, unless the court expressly forbids this. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  18. 18 PROTECTION OF CHILDREN ACT (1978)  This covers cases

    of children filmed or otherwise displayed for pornographic purposes. It is an offence under the act to take an indecent photograph of a child under the age of 16 or to involve a child under 16 in a photograph that is itself indecent even if the child’s role is not. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio

    rights include copyright, moral rights, performers’ rights, trade marks, patents and designs, rights to prevent “passing off” and breach of confidence. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  20. 20 DATA PROTECTION ACT  This act protects individuals privacy

    by regulating how personal information, known in the act as “personal data” is collected and used. The act applies to information stored electronically or in manual systems. “Personal data” is any information that relates to a living individual who can be identified from that information or from that and other information in our possession or likely to come into our possession. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  21. 21  Personal data can include email addresses or telephone

    numbers, collected when people enter competitions, sign up for a newsletter or become part of a programme’s database of contributors; or information about people we collect for use in programmes including sound recordings and images for the website.  The act requires that information is collected and used fairly (i.e. we make it clear to people how we intend to use the information and whether it will be given to anyone else inside or outside Focal Radio.  Information must be accurate, stored for the minimum time relevant to its use and stored and disposed of securely. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  22. 22  Material acquired for journalistic, artistic or literary purposes

    is exempt if compliance with the act would frustrate the journalistic purpose. For example, we do not need consent of someone being filmed committing a crime.  People have certain rights under the act in relation to information stored about them. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  23. 23 MEDIA TRAINING EDITORIAL VALUES ! VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio

  24. 24 Editorial Values  Truth and Accuracy  Impartiality and

    Diversity of Opinion  Editorial Integrity and Independence  Serving Public Interest  Fairness  Privacy  Harm and Offence  Children  Accountability VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  25. 25 TRUTH AND ACCURACY  We strive to be accurate

    and establish the truth of what has happened. Accuracy is more important than speed and it is often more than a question of getting the facts right. We will weigh all relevant facts and information to get at the truth. Our output will be well sourced, based on sound evidence, thoroughly tested and presented in clear, precise language. We will be honest and open about what we don’t know and avoid unfounded speculation. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio

    be fair and open minded and reflect all significant strands of opinion by exploring the range and conflict of views. We will be objective and even handed in our approach to a subject. We will provide professional judgments where appropriate, but we will never promote a particular view on controversial matters of public policy, or political or industrial controversy. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  27. 27 EDITORIAL INTEGRITY AND INDEPENDENCE  We are independent of

    outside interest. Our audiences can be confident that our decisions are influenced neither by political or commercial pressures, nor by any personal interests. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  28. 28 SERVING THE PUBLIC INTEREST  We seek to report

    stories of significance. We will be vigorous in driving to the heart of the story and well informed when explaining it. Our specialist expertise will bring authority and analysis to the complex world in which we live. We will ask searching questions of those who hold public office and provide a comprehensive forum for public debate. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  29. 29 FAIRNESS  Our output will be based on fairness,

    openness and straight dealing. Contributors will be treated honestly and with respect. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  30. 30 PRIVACY  We will respect privacy and will not

    infringe it without good reason, wherever we are operating. Private behaviour, correspondence and conversation will not be brought into the public domain unless there is a clear public interest. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  31. 31 HARM AND OFFENCE  WE aim to reflect the

    world as it is, including all aspects of the human experience and the realities of the natural world. But we balance our right to broadcast and publish innovative and challenging content with our responsibility to protect the vulnerable. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  32. 32 CHILDREN  We will always seek to safeguard the

    welfare of children and young people who contribute to and feature in our content including their right to be heard. We will also schedule content and adverts which might be unsuitable for children appropriately. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio
  33. 33 ACCOUNTABILITY  We are accountable to our audience and

    will deal fairly and openly with them at all times. Their continuing trust is a crucial part of our contract with not only our listener but our advertisers and sponsors. We will be open in admitting mistakes and encourage a culture of willingness to learn from them. VH 15/04/13 Cre8 radio