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2013: April-June

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Update: An Axe to Grind...

PCC receive 83 complaints about newspaper coverage of Woolwich terrorist attack


Link Here29th May 2013

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has received 83 complaints about newspaper coverage of the Woolwich muslim terrorist attack.

Readers contacted PCC about the stories and pictures used by newspapers, including tabloids and broadsheet titles. Each of the national titles carried dramatic front pages the following day showing one of the murder suspects with bloodied hands, prompting criticism from some readers.

The PCC declined to say which titles it had received complaints about, but said it may break down the figure at a later date.

 

 

Update: Stop Press...

Government plans for a news censor put on hold to give time to consider alternative plan proposed by newspaper editors


Link Here4th May 2013

The Government's proposal for a Royal Charter on the future of news censorship has been put on hold after newspaper editors put forward an alternative plan.

The Royal Charter was due to be signed by the Queen when she chaired the next meeting of the Privy Council on May 15, but it has now been taken off the agenda for the meeting so the Government can hold more talks with editors.

Editors are unhappy with an element of statutory underpinning in the Government's proposal, and last month they published their own proposal for a Royal Charter, which would remove Parliament's proposed power to make changes to the regulatory system without the agreement of the industry.

 

 

Update: Political Interference...

Major newspapers reject the newspaper censor proposed by political parties


Link Here26th April 2013

The majority of the newspaper industry, made up of five of the country's largest press groups, have rejected cross-party plans for newspaper censorship and launched a bid to set up their own royal charter-backed body.

News International, the publisher of the Sun and Times, the Telegraph Media Group, the Daily Mail's publisher Associated Newspapers, Trinity Mirror and Express Newspapers published a draft royal charter saying they rejected the stitch-up put together by the three political parties.

The newspapers said the original government royal charter unveiled on 15 March and endorsed by parliament:

Has no support within the press. A number of its recommendations are unworkable and it gives politicians an unacceptable degree of interference in the regulation of the press.

David Cameron said he was very happy to look at the proposals and his aides said he needed time to examine the gaps between what the parties had agreed and the industry was proposing.

But a spokesman for the culture department stood firm by the original plans endorsed by the Commons and Lords:

We want to see a tough, independent self-regulator implemented swiftly. The royal charter published on 18 March followed 21 weeks of discussion and has cross-party agreement.

 

 

Update: Micro-Exemptions...

The Government proposes to exempt micro-companies (less than 10 employees) from having to sign up to the planned news censor


Link Here20th April 2013

The Government writes about the need for bloggers and small media companies having to sign up to the proposed news censor:

Following the initial debate in Parliament, we have refined the clauses to make it absolutely clear that small blogs are outside of the scheme.

The amendments, which have cross-party agreement, make clear that small blogs will not be classed as relevant publishers , and be considered by the House of Commons on Monday April 22.

The provisions in the Crime and Courts Bill clauses detail the four tests that must be met to be considered a relevant publisher, which are:

  • publish news-related material

  • publish in the course of a business

  • written by different authors

  • subject to editorial controls

Micro-business blogs

The amendments clarify the government's position on small blogs by further defining the exemption for blogs that are classed as micro-businesses - business with fewer than 10 employees and an annual turnover below 2 million. This is the definition used by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Despite not falling under the definition of relevant publisher, any publication that is exempt as a micro-business as a result of these amendments could still choose to join a regulator and receive the legal benefits otherwise only available to relevant publishers in the regulator. That means protection from exemplary damages. It also means that use of the arbitral arm in the regulator will be taken into account by the court when awarding costs.

Additional exemptions

The clauses also list certain categories of publications which are exempt, even when those tests are met. These exemptions include special interest titles, scientific or academic journals, broadcasters and book publishers as as well as a public body, charity or company that publishes news about their activities.

 

 

Update: Consultation for bloggers on the new Crime and Courts Bill...

The Media Reform Coalition are surveying opinions on how to exclude bloggers and small entities from UK news censorship


Link Here 5th April 2013

The Media Reform Coalition has launched a consultation for small publishers, online bloggers and journalists to speak up on the new press regulation deal.

On April 15 the House of Commons will return from Easter recess, and soon after that will consider the Crime and Courts Bill -- a crucial part of the statutory backing to the new Royal Charter which provides for independent media self-regulation.

But the Bill as currently drafted has some big problems : it doesn't adequately protect small publishers from punishments intended for media moguls and it doesn't provide the legal backing for them to join or form a regulator further down the line.

Click here to take our survey without further ado!

The House of Lords has shown clear intention to solve these issues by adding a holding amendment excluding "small-scale bloggers", but we need to lobby the Commons to transform this into something clear, versatile and workable. That's why we want your input.

Maria Miller, the relevant Secretary of State, has made noises about consulting with the 'newspaper industry' over the Easter recess. She has said nothing about engaging with other kinds of news organisations -- hence this consultation.

We hope to rally small publishers, online news sites and bloggers behind a set of proposal so that we can collectively lobby all three parties to make sure the C&C Bill does the job it should.

The consultation comes in three parts:

The survey focuses primarily on who you think should be liable for exemplary damages and cost penalties, and who you think should get the benefits It lists several options for the protection of small publishers, such as excluding non-profit organisations or setting an income threshold for inclusion as a "relevant publisher".

It also asks whether the costs benefits of joining a recognised self-regulator should be available to anyone who joins, regardless of whether they are a "relevant publisher" -- and whether respondents would join an affordable regulator if it made costs protection available to them.

The responses to the consultation will be used to provide the political parties with input on the clauses going through Parliament after the Easter recess that will affect small news organisations.

If you are a small publisher, online writer, or blogger of any kind, we want to hear from you. Please do look over our documents and take our survey -- and spread it around to as many people as you can!


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