Wednesday, 29 February 2012

My Portfolios

I have now created two new blogs and uploaded the work I have done during my three years at the University of Winchester and my four months internship as a PR and Media Intern at Sovereign Housing Association.

More work is still to be added.

And, don't forget to check out my LinkedIn profile!


Monday, 21 February 2011

Dissertation and other big words...

'the criminal justice system is not perfect and factually innocent individuals can, and for a variety of reasons are, wrongly convicted and even imprisoned for crimes they have played no part in' (p13 'Claims of Innocence')

As this three year University course is almost coming to its end - there are a few things still to achieve... One of them being the big frightful dissertation...

At the University of Winchester, the journalist department has joined 'the Innocence Project' which we in our third year can choose to work with as our Final Year Project. This is a project where we are trying to figure out if people accused for murder are really guilty or in fact innocent - that is in prison, charged for something they did not actually commit.

As confidentiality goes I am obviously not allowed to discuss my project into any detail - but overall the Innocence Project has been running since 2004 when it was started by Dr Michael Naughton at the University of Bristol 'to undertake casework, research and communications in the area of wrongful convictions'. With the Crown Court receiving an average of 5000 applications for appeals against convictions given by a magistrates' each year (p12 'Claims of Innocence') there is without doubt a lot that students and other members of the public can do to help either overturning a conviction or find enough evidence to assure the conviction to be 100% correct.

'the criminal justice system is not perfect and it is inevitable that factually innocent people are wrongly convicted and imprisoned' (p3 'Claims of Innocence')

If an appellant fails in his/her appeal against criminal conviction but still keep questioning validity of the conviction they have to turn to the independent body CCRC (the criminal cases review commission). This body was established in 1995 after famous cases such as the convictions of the Birmingham 6 and Guildford 4 were quashed and the need for a commission to review cases of allegedly miscarriages of justice in society. (chapter 7, 'Claims of Innocence')

'put simply, prisons are meant for the guilty, not the innocent' (p15 'Claims of Innocence')

When we were offered to work with this project I immediately knew I wanted to take part of this - but I never thought it would be as interesting working with it as it is. As a journalist, digging around in paper work, reading interviews and witness statements, contacting people and finding ways around to progress with the case is all exciting and hopefully things that will be playing a big part of my life in a future career. Even though there is a lot of 'law talk' - which is quite distant and confusing to me - I have learnt so much in the few months I have been working on the case. Also, as I was assigned case manager, I have also learnt how to be a better organiser and how to keep juggling a lot of balls at the same time while also trying to type up my dissertation out of everything that is going on around me.

After a month or so of energy put into the case, I decided to focus my dissertation on the case as a whole, and the role a journalist can play to help with an alleged miscarriage of justice. There are so many different areas of interest, such as evidence, the role of the media, the role a religion can play (honour killings etc), the law and how it has changed since wrongful convictions became a 'hot topic' in society, authorities (such as police, lawyers etc) and corruption... the list could go on for quite some time - but with a 10,000 word dissertation the focus has to be quite sharp and the area concerned quite limited. Therefore I hope my area is 'small' enough to keep me within the limit and not run over with too many big words...

Monday morning, another week - let's get on with it!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Law Revision


-an untrue statement that is written down

The Public Interest
-the opposite of malice
-no single, comprehensive definition in law of this concept
-in journalistic context, 'justify information's value to society as particularly high or potentially so'

Malicious Falsehood
-a lie that was uttered with malice and the utterer knew it would cause damage or harm and that the statement was false
-likely to cause financial damage to the claimant

-implying/suggesting something without saying it - always malice! -no defence!
-a statement which may seem to be innocouos to some people, but which will be seen as defamatory by people with special knowledge

-'contrast' - two objects or texts that oppose one another
-a statement innocuous when standing alone can acquire defamatory meaning when juxtaposed with other material

3 point list libel
-publication - to a third party
-identification - positive identification (!)

-it is defamatory if it tends to do any of the following

~expose the person to hatred, ridicule or contempt
~cause the person to be shunned or avoided
~lower the person in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally
~disparage the person in his/her business, trade, office or profession

-libel in its spoken form
-slander between two people not defamatory - needs to be a third party involved

An action for Libel can be started up to 1 year after it has been published. So be very careful as a journalist to keep all you tapes, original rashes of tapes, notes, shorthand to be able to defend yourself.
Case: Gilligan case - journalist tampered with his notes (evidence) after making them

Three main Defences

-it is true and you can prove it

Fair Comment
-protects published opinion - not any statement put forward as factual
-must be an honestly held opinion
-should be recognisable that it is a comment
-comment must be based on probably true facts

Qualified Privilege
-journalists have QP in parliament/court reporting
-exemption - you're above the law
- the Monarch only person in the UK above the law

Absolute Privilege
-judges, lawyers and MP's have

AP and QP when the publication is
fast - in the next possible broadcast/issue
accurate - no spelling mistakes etc
fair - free from malice

-when gathering information without telling you are a journalist
-hiding the facts you are a journalist - hide camera in bag etc
-do never spy! be straightforward!

Use of Subterfuge
-got to have permission from regulatory bodies before you go ahead
-if you can't do story in any other way
-if it's in the public interest

Political Bias in Print and Broadcast
-no regulation on print media/newpapers - can be as bias as you like
-broadcast - outside election - balance over time (BBC code)
-broadcast - called election - strict balance/equal airtime in proportion to share in last election
-undue prominence

Recording, Interviewing and Filming Children
-need consent if child is under 16
-no harm can be caused!

Regulation relating to Taste and Decency
-use of foul language, 'the F word'
-mustn't be gratuitous
-after the watershed - 9pm
-not use on air - never in studio

-use of 'profoundly offensive' language, ' the C word'
-not gratuitous to use it
-Northern Ireland police documentary - the word was used in an interview but was kept in as the word was in context and also for effect

Interviewing Criminals
-mustn't glamourise or imply that the crime was a good thing
-racial slurs, racial identification - mustn't be gratuitous


Main Function at a Magistrates' Court
-summary justice
-injunctions in civil cases

When is a case active? What legal risks are there?

Helping police with enquiries
-case not active
-defamatory possible - identification

Arrest and Charged
-case is active
-no danger of libel
-danger of contempt of court

Magistrates' Court - Summary Cases

Magistrates' Court - Committal
-may be held on remand

On Bail/On Remand/Awaiting Trial
-danger of contempt of court
-cannot report reason with police have rejected a bail - prejudice

In Crown Court when Jury is not present
-no danger of contempt of court
-danger of libel
-case is active

In Crown Court when Judge and Jury is present
-full protection (QP)
-case is active

Permitted to Interview Witnesses - if so in what circumstances?
-During? -no, because of the risk of intimidating the witness -->
-contempt of court
-no checkbook journalism
-can interview and report when case is no longer active

Report about trial or accused person after conviction - before sentencing
-no QP
-no risk of contempt of court
-your defence - justification

Impact of Article 8 - European Convention on Human Rights
-Campbell vs MGN Ltd
-a story published about her being treated at Narcotics Anonymous
-photographs taken of her emerging from a treatment session
-paper argued it was in the public interest
-Campbell argued no justification of publishing private photographs alongside the story or reporting the details of the story
-article 8 - only allowed to take pictures in clearly public places
-implied consent

Practical Measures for photojournalists and videojournalists to avoid legal problems
-trespassing - if asked to leave do leave

Confidentiality and Breach of Confidentiality
-it's about the expectation to whom you tell - if you tell your lawyer or doctor you expect them to keep it a secret
-Case: Bill Goodwin - protect your sources even if it can lead to yourself being imprisoned

FOIA - Freedom of Information Act

Provisions of the representation of the People Act affect journalism
-represents opinions of a candidate

'Without Prejudice' letter
-an editor might write this to correct errors
-this is not allowed to be used as evidence

Standards of proof in civil and criminal law - Prinicple of avoidance of double jeopardy - affect the practice of investigative journalism?
-beyond reasonable doubt
-balance of probability
-can't try the same thing twice

Statutory Qualified Privilege
-local government
-balance in the same article
-both sides
-industrial tribunals, cricket club etc

Common Law Qualified Privilege - Reynolds 10 Point Test
-the seriousness of the allegation
-the nature of the allegation
-the source of the allegation
-the steps taken to verify the information
-the status of the information
-the urgency of the matter
-whether comment was sought from the claimant
-whether the article contained the gist of the claimant's side of the story
-the tone of the article
-the circumstances of the publication

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Student demonstration in London - short version

This is the shorter version of the student demonstration that took place in London on 10/11/10. This package was produced for Wichester News Online (WINOL) and broadcasted with the weekly news bulletin on 17/11/10.

Student demonstration in London 10/11/10 - documentary

A documentary about the events that unfolded in London on the 10/11/10 as 50.000 students demonstrated for the proposed rise of the tuition fee cap.

Produced and Edited by: Madeleine Klippel and Veronica Frydel
Filmed by: Madeleine Klippel, Veronica Frydel, William Cooper and Andrew Giddings

No ifs, no buts - no education cuts!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Recent Cases - Media Law

Lily Allen v Daily Mail
Singer Lily Allen took legal actions against the Daily Mail alleging invasion of privacy and copyright infringement after they published pictures on their website of her home in September, 2010. Lily Allen has earlier won damages against French sports magazine 'So Foot' over an article where they claim she has called Cheryl Cole 'stupid and superficial' and Victoria Beckham a 'monster' and also received an apology from the Sun and £10.000 in damages for repeating some of the claims made in the same 'So Foot' article.

The Spycatcher Affair
The controversial book 'Spycatcher' contains information aquired by Peter Wright, senior officer of MI5, and was published in 1987. The British Government lost the battle to stop the publication of this book. Law Lords ruled that extract from this book could be used by media as any damage to national security had already been done by publications abroad. But it was agreed that Mr. Wright had committed a serious breach of confidence by publishing this book.

In 1991 the European Court of Human Rights found that Mr. Wright's freedom of speech had been violated by the government's actions.

Bill Goodwin Case
Trainee reporter Bill Goodwin refused to hand over the documents that would reveal his source as he investigated the financial difficulties Tetra Ltd faced. Mr. Goodwin's risked imprisonment by refusing to reveal his source - but ended up paying a £5.000 fine.

In 1996 the European Court of Human Rights held that the fine and the court order violated Mr. Goodwin's right to freedom under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Catherine Zeta Jones Case
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones were awarded £14.600 for breach of confidence and an additional £3m in costs after paparazzi pictures of their wedding were published in Hello! magazine.

Campbell v MGN Ltd
In 2002 Naomi Campbell sued Mirror Group Newspapers for publishing a story about her receiving treatment for a drug addiction at Narcotics Anonymous and publishing photographs of Ms Campbell emerging from a treatment session. The paper argued it was in the publics interest they published the story and the photographs - Ms. Campbell had earlier stated that she was not taking drugs, and therefore disclosure was necessary to correct a false public image.

In 2004 it was ruled that it was in the publics interest to report the fact of Ms. Campbell's drug addiction and the treatments she was receiving - but there was no justification for reporting on the details of her receiving it at Narcotics Anonymous, neither of the photographs published alongside the story.

Further reading on:
Lily Allen v Daily Mail - the Guardian
The Spycatcher Affair - BBC
The Spycatcher Affair - MI5
Bill Goodwin Case
Catherine Zeta Jones Case - BBC
Campbell v MGN Ltd - McNae's Essential Law for Journalists, chapter 23