Tag Archives: Media

Because the computer speaks English?

I’m pleased to say that a paper of mine, first presented in the Soillse seminar series in Edinburgh last year, has now been published in the Journal of Media Law. An open access version (post-peer review) is available for download here, and if you or your institution subscribe to the journal, the final version is found here.

The abstract is below. In essence, what I was trying to do here was (a) identify some of the issues concerning language rights and language policy in respect of the media in the context of changes in how media technologies are used, and (b) propose some approaches and tools that can inform a more thorough response to those issues. Much of the evidence in the paper is taken from periodic reports under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, although in the later sections I set some (tentative) theoretical points on the convergence of a number of ways of thinking – especially what I am thinking of as a digital linguistic landscape (in the line of my interest in physical and virtual spaces). I will have more to say on this in later papers.

Oh, and the title is the often-quoted remark attributed to a President of Kyrgyzstan (Askar Akayev), quoting his son on why he wanted to learn English. Al Gore told the story in a speech about the Internet in 1994, although I encountered it in Goldsmith & Wu’s Who Controls The Internet? a decade later, and it is frequently cited in work on multilingualism and technology.

Because the computer speaks English? Language rights and digital media
(2015) 7(1) Journal of Media Law
Open Access link
Subscription link

Legal measures in support of minority language media often take for granted particular models of broadcasting, but are these models valid? How flexible are key instruments such as the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages? After assessing the applicability of existing law on minority languages to various media platforms and services, it is argued that combining approaches from cyberlaw with sociolinguistic themes of the linguistic landscape and functional completeness can provide a more elaborate account of minority language rights and policy in the context of technological development.

Televised debates and the General Election

I spoke with Raidió na Gaeltachta this morning on the upcoming TV events and debates in the UK general election campaign (which I guess starts officially today with the proroguing of Parliament, in advance of dissolution on Monday).  It has of course been a long time getting here – not just the long-running campaign, but the attempt to agree a format for the debates and “debates”. For someone working both in media law and in public law, it’s a fascinating topic.

The conversation is in Irish; listen again here.

Edit: A follow-up discussion, the morning after the night before, is available here.

SLS Media and Communications – 2015 Call For Papers

Paul Wragg has recently taken over as convenor of the Media & Communciations section of the Society of Legal Scholars, which is certainly good news after my three years of dictatorial misrule in the post.  I’m pleased to post this call for papers on his behalf, for this year’s annual conference (University of York, 1st-4th September 2015)  The deadline has been extended to 31st March 2015.

The Media and Communications section will meet in the second half of the conference on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th September. If you are interested in presenting a paper, please submit an abstract by Tuesday 31st March.

All abstracts must be submitted through the EasyChair conference system. If you have not used this system before, you will need to create an account before making your submission.

I would welcome proposals for papers on any area of media and communications law, including (but not limited to): media regulation; defamation; privacy; breach of confidence; telecommunications law; media ownership and pluralism; the laws, practices and codes affecting journalism (e.g. contempt of court, subterfuge, court reporting, recognition/status of journalists); the control of marketing, advertising, and sponsorship contract and rights issues affecting the media and communications sectors (for example, television coverage of sporting events); image rights; universal design / access in relation to communications language and minority rights and the media whether they address this year’s conference theme (Law’s Subjects: Subject to Law) or not. Alternatively, if you would like to propose a topic of current interest for a panel or roundtable discussion, please do get in touch to see if this can be arranged.

As the SLS is keen to ensure that as many members with good quality papers as possible are able to present, we discourage speakers from presenting more than one paper at the conference. With this in mind, I would be grateful if you could let me know if you are also responding to calls for papers from other sections.

Please note that whilst you need only send a proposed title and abstract at this stage, speakers are encouraged to submit a full paper via EasyChair before the conference. The SLS offers a Best Paper Prize which can be awarded to academics at any stage of their career. The Prize carries a £250 monetary award and winning papers are published in Legal Studies. To be eligible:
• speakers must be fully paid-up members of the SLS;
• papers must not exceed 11,000 words including footnotes (as counted in Word);
• papers must be uploaded to EasyChair by Monday 24th August; and
• papers must not have been published previously or have been accepted or be under consideration for publication.

The Campbell Legacy: A Decade of ‘Misuse of Private Information’ (Newcastle, 17 April 2015)

I’m delighted to share news of an event I’m organising with a Newcastle colleague, Tom Bennett.  Here comes the formal stuff. Registration opens 2 March!

The 2004 decision of the House of Lords in Campbell v Mirror Group Newspapers was a significant case regarding privacy, and for human rights law and tort law more generally. Its influence is clear in current debates on the future of the Human Rights Act (particularly as we approach the General Election), and the relationship between the press, the State and the public. The legal status of the cause of action for ‘misuse of private information’ recognised in the decision has provoked significant debate, in the courts and in universities. A decade on, it is appropriate to reflect on both the case and its influence, both in domestic law and across the common law world.

At this one-day conference at Newcastle Law School, Campbell’s legacy will be debated by a range of speakers. Keynote addresses will be given by Dr. Nicole Moreham (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand) and Keith Schilling.

Nicole Moreham is a globally-recognised scholar of privacy law, and co-editor of and contributor to the second edition of key reference work The Law of Privacy and the Media. She has published numerous articles on the protection of privacy in England and Wales, New Zealand, and Europe. Her other research interests include the law of tort and media law.

Keith Schilling (who represented Ms. Campbell in the case) is the chair and founding partner of Schillings. A leading practitioner in the field, he has spent three decades specialising in the law relating to privacy and reputation, and continues to represent a number of high-profile and celebrity clients.

Other confirmed speakers include Gavin Phillipson (Durham), Paul Wragg (Leeds), Jacob Rowbottom (Oxford), Eric Descheemaeker (Edinburgh) and Patrick O’Callaghan (Cork).

Registration for the conference (online at http://www.ncl.ac.uk/nuls/; contact law.events@newcastle.ac.uk with any queries) opens on 2 March 2015 and closes on 10 April 2015. Registration is free for academics. A nominal fee of £25 is charged to practising barristers and solicitors, for whom evidence of attendance will be provided in recognition of participation in 5 hours of learning and development. All registered delegates will have the option to attend a conference dinner on Friday evening, at a cost of an additional £25.

We can accommodate a small number of additional papers within our schedule, on themes within the scope of the conference title. Proposals in the form of a title and abstract (approximately 250 words) should be submitted to law.events@newcastle.ac.uk by 9am on 27 February 2015. Papers may be considered for inclusion in a special section of a future issue of the Journal of Media Law.

This conference is organised by Tom Bennett and myself. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Newcastle University Conference Support Scheme, Schillings, and the Journal of Media Law (Hart Publishing).

Programme for Media & Communications Law at SLS 2014

This is my third and final year as convenor of the Media & Communications subject section of the Society of Legal Scholars.  Here’s the programme for the section’s stream at this year’s annual conference, being held in Nottingham in September.  Registration is now open (with early booking discount until the end of July).

1: Tuesday 9th September, 2-3.30pm (Defamation Reform)

1A The Defamation Act 2013: We Need to Talk about Corporate Reputation – Peter Coe (Buckinghamshire New)
1B Qualified Privilege in Defamation and the Evolution of the Doctrine of Reportage – Sarah Gale (City)
1C Five Years After Grant: The Scope of Canada’s Responsible Communication Defence – Hilary Young (New Brunswick)

2: Tuesday 9th September, 4-5.30pm (Rights and Theory)

2A Liberty and the Press – Paul Wragg (Leeds)
2B The Finnish model of media self-regulation and freedom of speech from the legal point of view – Päivi Korpisaari (Helsinki)
2C How to be Positive: Respecting and Protecting Free Speech – Andrew Kenyon (Melbourne)

3: Wednesday 10th September, 9.30-11am (Broadcasting and Competition)

3A Strasbourg’s U-turn on political advertising bans in the broadcast media: Animal Defenders International v United Kingdom – Tom Lewis (Nottingham Trent)
3B The EU and Public Service Broadcasting: From Foes to Friends? – Irini Katsirea (Middlesex)
3C ‘Deciding who Decides’: Is Ofcom best-placed to rule on UK media ownership? – David Reader (UEA)

4: Wednesday 10th September, 2-3.30pm (Internet)

4A The Get Guido clause? A comparative analysis of online news regulation in the UK and Australia – Denis Muller (Melbourne) and Judith Townend (City)
4B U and non-U tube: creativity, reputation and Internet take-down – Alan Durant (Middlesex)
4C U. S. Constitutional Protections Under the 1st Amendments, Differences Between States – Clifford Fisher and Saran Mishra (Purdue)