Thursday, 21 October 2010

Law - Privilege

Privilege allows us as journalists to write or broadcast material which may be defamatory or untrue or even both at the same time. It gives us protection from being sued.

Absolute Privilege -
Anything said in court. Judges, lawyers and MP’s have it

It is from the monarch, so as it is to do with the trial they can't be prosecuted for it.

Qualified Privilege -
As long as reports are fair, accurate, without malice and on a matter of public concern
Journalists have Qualified Privilege in Parliament/Court/public meetings Reporting

Statements that qualify for qualified privilege without explanation are as follows;
  • Fair and accurate reports of public proceedings of legislatures, courts, government appointed public inquiries, international organisations/conferences anywhere in the world.
  • A fair and accurate copy of or extract from any register or other document required by law to be open to public inspection.
  • A notice or advertisement published by or on the authority of a court, or of a judge or officer of a court, anywhere in the world.
  • A fair and accurate copy of or extract from matter published by or on the authority of a government or legislature or by an international organisation or an international conference anywhere in the world.
- Lee Clegg case, significant

Privilege Part 1

  • Public proceedings in a legislature anywhere in world (ie Russia)
  • Public proceedings in a court anywhere in world
  • Public proceedings of a public inquiry anywhere in world
  • Public proceedings of an international organisation or conference

Privilege part 2

  • Subject to explanation and contradiction
  • Public meetings
  • Local councils and committees
  • Associations have different status
  • Findings or decisions are covered - official
  • Proceedings are not 
  • Pressers are public meetings
  • Written hand outs also covered
  • Consider risks of live broadcasting

Privilege summed up
  • Report must be;
  • Fair
  • Accurate
  • Without malice
  • On a matter of public interest
  • No privilege outside main proceedings
Page 340

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