WINOL: Features Archive

At the age of just 15, Paul Blackburn was wrongfully imprisoned for 25 years. Presented, edited and produced by Tom Morgan.

Media Law - Year Three Notes Archive

A collection of posts looking at media law, including tips for journalists, case examples and information on the various codes of conduct. Click here for more.

American Election 2012 - US Embassy Report

Myself, Lee Jarvis, Sam Sheard and Kirsty McDonagh spent the evening at the US Embassy as part of WINOL's coverage of the 2012 American election.

Work Experience: The One Show

This blog post serves as a summary of what I got up to during my time at the BBC and also provides some information on how the One Show is run.

Work Experience: PC Advisor

After breaking up from University for the summer, I arranged two separate work experience placements to keep me occupied over the break. The first of these placements was at PC Advisor in London.

Work Experience: Basingstoke Gazette

After breaking up from University for the summer, I arranged two separate work experience placements to keep me occupied over the break. The second of these placements was at the Basingstoke Gazette.

HCJ Notes Archive: Year One and Year Two

A collection of lecture notes, seminar papers and seminar summaries from Year One and Year Two on the HCJ course at the University of Winchester

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

APPsolutely Fabulous


Browsing through a seemingly endless list of games on your mobile phone’s application store can be a tedious challenge, so this month we’re making it easier than every for you to find the best free downloadable titles out there. Whether you’re looking for a sporty escape or an adventurous virtual career, we’ve got it covered. Read on for our full guide and be sure to click the links to view the official game trailers.

For the full article, click here:

Friday, 26 October 2012

Media Law, Lecture 5, Year Three - Defamation

Our fifth lecture with Ian Anderson focused on defamation. We looked at how to identify when a story is potentially dangerous to publish, libel defence, and defamation via pictures.

For journalists, having a strong understanding  of defamation is key to preventing severe legal issues when it comes to publishing content. The UK has some of the strictest libel laws in the world.  Working on WINOL at the University of Winchester, myself and the team know first-hand the threat that defamation poses.


Picture: Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Let's define defamation. Defamation is present if WHAT you write or broadcast about someone / a company tends to:

1) Lower them in the estimation of right-thinking people
2) Causes them to become shunned and avoided
3) Disparages them in their business or trade
4) Exposes them to hate, ridicule or contempt

It's possible to defame someone from any published medium. Radio, TV and print journalism are all included. Defamation via pictures is a common danger when it comes to television. Careless use of background shots with a voice over can be defamatory under certain circumstances, which is why it's vital to assess the context of what you're saying before making it public.

For example, let's pretend that during a news package, I filmed a close-up panning shot of a crowd shouting abuse at players. If, in my voiceover, I said something along the lines of: "These football hooligans..." then this would be defamatory to the people in the crowd who were not involved with the abuse. These people were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but were still described in the news piece as 'hooligans'. This is clearly a defamatory statement. The fact that they are clearly identifiable in the close-up shot is also very dangerous.

If a defamatory statement refers to someone as being a member of a group, and includes no other identifying detail of that person, all members of the group may be able to successfully sue for defamation, even though the publisher intended to only refer to one of them.

In terms of publication, the claimant must also prove that the statement has been published. There is no defamation if the words complained of are addressed only to the person who they are made.


During Ian's lecture, we also discussed the relationship between defamatory statements and reputation. Reputation is precious, especially if you live a life in the public eye and have money. It was rightly pointed out in the lecture that now, more than ever, reputation can be shattered in an instant. The power of the web in particular means defamatory information and rumours can spread like wildfire, so it's more important than ever that we, as journalists, take care in what we're saying, how we're saying it, and who we're saying it to.

Inference and innuendo are also serious hazards. An innuendo is a statement which may seem to be innocuous to some people but which will be seen as defamatory by people with special knowledge. The libel claimant who argues that he/she has been defamed by an innuendo must show not only that the special facts or circumstances giving rise to the innuendo exist, but also that these facts are known to the people to whom the statement complained of was published.

It's best to remember the definition of libel using the following formula:

Publication + Defamation + Identification = LIBEL.

During the lecture, we also discussed possible lines of defence when it comes to libel. These are as follows:

1) Justification

This ultimately boils down to the question: Is what you have said true, and can you prove this in court? Justification is a difficult defence to use because in a defamation action it is not the task of the claimant to show the published words were untrue. The burden of truth is on the defendant - the publisher - to prove that they were true.

Justification means proving not only the truth of each defamatory statement but also any reasonable interpretation that may be understood of the words and any innuendos lying behind them.

For example, in 1987, Jeffrey Archer was awarded £500,000 against the Star newspaper, which said that he had paid a prostitute for sexual intercourse. It was true that Archer had paid £2000 to the prostitute to go abroad to avoid scandal but he claimed the article implied he had a sexual relationship with her.


2) Fair comment

Is the information honestly held opinion based upon facts, or privileged material in the public interest?

3) Absolute privilege (e.g Court reporting)

4) Qualified privilege

The Reynold's Defence was also mentioned in the lecture. The Reynolds defence, put simply, protects the publication of defamatory material, provided that it was a matter of public interest and that it was the product of 'responsible journalism'. The original Reynold's case involved the prime minister of Ireland at the time and the Times newspaper. Mr Reynold's was unhappy with what the newspaper chose to publish in its story on his resignation. 

More information on the Reynold's case can be found at the link below:


Lord Nicholls was the judge involved in the appeal stage of the Albert Reynolds vs Sunday Times case in 1999, and took it upon himself to further define qualified privilege protection against defamation. The following 10-point list was formed:

1) The seriousness of the allegation - The more serious it is, the more protection is applied
2) The nature of the information - ..and the extent to which the subject is a matter of public concern
3) The source of the information - If your source is in a position of great power, you're more entitled to report their allegations
4) The steps taken to verify the information - Ideally, you must talk to the person you are making the allegation/s against to obtain their side of the story
5) The status of the information - You must ensure that the allegation you are making has not been made and dealt with already. It may have already been dismissed for one reason or another
6) The urgency of the matter - If your report is genuinely urgent, you may be entitled to protection
7) Was comment sought from the claimant? - It's encouraged that you get the other side of the story to provide balance
8) Did the article contain the 'gist' of the claimant's side of the story? 
9) The tone of the article - A general 'allegations over ___ have caused concern' story is legally much safer than a story assuming the allegations are completely true
10) The circumstances of the publication - This includes the timing of the published piece

Remember:

Who are you writing about? Will they sue? Why are they likely to do so?

Is what you're writing potentially defamatory?

Do you have a defence?

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Behind the Scenes at the 2012 BJTC Awards



A behind the scenes look at the 2012 BJTC Awards, hosted by Alastair Stewart OBE at the University of Winchester. For more coverage on the awards, visit our website at www.WINOL.co.uk. To view my full video feature, click the video link below:


Monday, 22 October 2012

Media Law, Lecture 4, Year Three - Law and Regulation for TV News

Our fourth lecture with Ian Anderson focused on TV regulation and the powers of particular bodies such as the PCC and OFCOM. We looked at a number of issues surrounding these groups including their ability to control broadcasters and investigate other matters.

Also on the agenda was the Leveson Inquiry. The Leveson Enquiry is changing the way the law works and we discussed in detail the effect the inquiry will have in shaping future codes of conduct. As the investigation continues, this area of the law remains in transition.

For more information on the Leveson Inquiry, visit the link below:

http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/

Picture: Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Firstly, we looked at the PCC (Press Complains Commission). The PCC code of conduct regulates British newspapers and magazines. Among the topics it discusses in its code are: Accuracy, opportunity to reply, privacy, harassment, intrusion into grief or shock, children, children in sex cases, hospitals, reporting of crime, misrepresentation, victims of sexual assault, discrimination, financial journalism, confidential sources, witness payments in criminal trials and payment to criminals.

Compared to OFCOM, the PCC is fairly weak when it comes to disciplinary power. As was said in the lecture, "[The PCC] has no real bite". A key flaw associated with the group concerns self regulation. The PCC's ability to investigate without itself is similar to the police force investigating itself. It'll claim it's independently minded, but it's perhaps too close to the people its trying to investigate.

Next, we'll take a look at OFCOM. This code of conduct deals mainly with commercial TV (e.g. Sky, ITV) and also discusses the 'watershed', which starts at 9PM in the UK. The watershed continues until the early morning, and programmes shown within this time are rated 15+. 

The OFCOM broadcasters code, which can be found below, details OFCOM's policies over a number of factors including crime, religion, fairness and privacy. It's clear that OFCOM has far more power than the PCC when it comes to dealing with those who break the code. Corrections or findings must always be broadcast, however.

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/broadcasting/broadcast-codes/broadcast-code/

OFCOM has the power to issue fines to broadcasters that break the code. In 2008, OFCOM famously issued a fine involving Russell Brand and Jonathon Ross after two episodes of the Russell Brand radio show breached the Broadcasting Code. 

OFCOM has the power to take a show off the air entirely, something that the PCC can't do. More on the fine itself can be found here:

http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/2009/04/bbc-brandross-fine/

The final code of conduct we discussed during the lecture was the NUJ code of conduct. I've written about this code in a past blog post, so here's a rundown of what the code says:

Rule 1 sets a precedent for what follows, stating that "a journalist has a duty to maintain the highest professional and ethical standards".

Rule 2 discusses the importance of avoiding 'distortion', essentially highlighting the need to avoid misrepresenting stories and facts which would lead to confusion amongst the public. It states: " A journalist shall at all times defend the principle of the freedom of the Press and other media in relation to the collection of information and the expression of comment and criticism. He/she shall strive to eliminate distortion, news suppression and censorship."

Rule 3 says that any information released must be true and accurate, which basically repeats the idea behind the rule before it. It also says that it's important a Journalist does not pass off comment as fact. Clearly, this would go against the 'professional' and 'ethical' standards discussed at the start of the code. Rule 3 says: "A journalist shall strive to ensure that the information he/she disseminates is fair and accurate, avoid the expression of comment and conjecture as established fact and falsification by distortion, selection or misrepresentation."

Rule 4 explains the need to rectify any harmful inaccuracies. It states: "A journalist shall rectify promptly any harmful inaccuracies, ensure that correction and apologies receive due prominence and afford the right of reply to persons criticised when the issue is of sufficient importance." If you explore the web, it's fairly easy to find a story about how a newspaper has been forced to apologise following a blunder. This one HERE describes how the Sunday World (an Irish paper) had to apologise to Christy Burke, Dublin City councillor following a story they published which stated he knew convicted rapist Christy Griffin.

Rule 5 says that a journalist must only obtain information by straightforward means. For example, don't steal pictures from the family of the individual you are writing about. If you wish to publish a photograph identifying the individual that you are discussing, you must get permission. The code states: "A journalist shall obtain information, photographs and illustrations only by straightforward means. The use of other means can be justified only by over-riding considerations of the public interest. The journalist is entitled to exercise a personal conscientious objection to the use of such means."

Rule 6 tells Journalists to steer away from intruding on a story that may cause grief to family. You must be particularly weary of taking pictures at a funeral, for example. Again, this requires permission. The code states: "Subject to the justification by over-riding considerations of the public interest, a journalist shall do nothing which entails intrusion into private grief and distress."

Rule 7 emphasises the importance of protecting confidential sources of information.

Rule 8 discusses the danger of accepting bribes. Doing such a thing would lower a Journalists reputation, and would certainly go against the 'ethical standards' mentioned in the first rule. Rule 8 states: " A journalist shall not accept bribes nor shall he/she allow other inducements to influence the performance of his/her professional duties."

Rule 9 says that a Journalist must not distort the truth because of advertising considerations. For example, reviewing a product particularly well because it was somehow related to one of your sponsors would be considered bias, and therefore a distortion of truth. The code states: " A journalist shall not lend himself/herself to the distortion or suppression of the truth because of advertising or other considerations."

Rule 10 says that personal information, such as gender / age / race must only be discussed if it is relevant to the story. In some instances, mentioning an individuals race or religious background when it's clearly not needed could be considered gratuitous, which would look bad for both the paper and the writer. The code states: "A journalist shall only mention a person's age, race, colour, creed, illegitimacy, marital status (or lack of it), gender or sexual orientation if this information is strictly relevant. A journalist shall neither originate nor process material which encourages discrimination, ridicule, prejudice or hatred on any of the above-mentioned grounds."

Rule 11 warns of the dangers of photographing children without consent from the parents. " A journalist shall not interview or photograph children in connection with stories concerning their welfare without the permission of a parent or other adult responsible for their welfare."

Rule 12 describes that editing a picture to frame it in a particular way can often be deceptive to audiences. However, if the paper states that the picture has been edited it may be placed within the paper. The code states: "No journalist shall knowingly cause or allow the publication or broadcast of a photograph that has been manipulated unless that photograph is clearly labelled as such. Manipulation does not include normal dodging, burning, colour balancing, spotting, contrast adjustment, cropping and obvious masking for legal or safety reasons."

Rule 13 says that information a Journalist gathers privately through their work must not be abused. It states: "A journalist shall not take private advantage of information gained in the course of his/her duties, before the information is public knowledge."

Rule 14 is concerned with advertising. It essentially says that a writer can't 'plug' a product unless it's particularly relevant to what it is they are writing about. The code states: " A journalist shall not by way of statement, voice or appearance endorse by advertisement any commercial produce or service save for the promotion of his/her own work or of the medium by which he/she is employed."


So why are codes so important?

Ultimately, codes occupy the space between what the law says and what 'the right thing to do' is. The temptation to 'dress up' a news story is dangerous. During the lecture, Ian used an example to highlight his point. Filming a story about littering and then throwing litter across the street and filming it, for example, means dressing up the story to the point where it becomes a lie. This is a clear breach of the code of conduct.

Codes also give journalists the opportunity to develop trust with readers / viewers. Reputation is extremely important in the industry as nobody's going to read a collection of blatant lies. If we, as journalists, abide by the codes of conduct, our audiences trust in our ability to provide true stories remains strong. Interviewees are also likely to co-operate with a paper or journalist who they know is trustworthy.

The recent Jimmy Saville case, for example, has proved damaging for the BBC. It hurt the bond between the company and its viewers, and this is something that undoubtedly, the BBC aims to fix.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Media Law, Lecture 3, Year Three - Copyright

For our third media law lecture we were joined by Peter Hodges. Peter is a  BBC legal expert with a fantastic knowledge in copyright and fair dealing.

First of all, it's worth defining what copyright is. Copyright is referred to as a 'branch of intellectual property', protecting the product of peoples skills, creativity, labour and time. Having a strong knowledge of copyright is vital for Journalists. On the WINOL news bulletin, for example, often a picture or video clip that we've used with permission will have to be accompanied with written text stating the source of the content.

When we use content on the bulletin that isn't ours, we make use of 'fair dealing'. This serves as an acceptable way of using video footage or pictures that we don't own the rights to. During the lecture, Peter clarified that using up to 2 minutes of video that isn't ours (accompanied with text noting the source) is generally acceptable. For my features piece of mobile gaming, I am also covered under fair dealing. As my feature makes use of copy written video content for the purpose of review, this is OK.

If you want your work to be protected under copyright law, then the work has to have been published in some way. During the lecture Peter pointed out that it's surprising how much can be copyright and to what extent. The lighting configuration for the Eiffel Tower at night, for example, is copy written. Even the song, 'Happy Birthday' is a copy written piece. An unusual but fascinating fact!


Picture: Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, the following are protected:

* Literary work
* Dramatic work
* Artistic work
* Musical work
* Sound recording
* Film
* Broadcast
* Typographical arrangement

When referring to news stories, it's important to note that there is in fact no copyright in facts, news, ideas or information. However, when news reporting, lifting facts from others papers may be infringement. This is because the writers and researchers of the paper where the information came from have input skill and labour into their report.

Publication without permission of a photograph of the whole or a substantial part of a television image is an infringement under Section 17 of the Copyright Act.

Last year, I wrote about the Hargreaves Report, which links closely to some of the issues we discussed in the lecture. That article can be found here:

http://tommorganwinchester.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/hargreaves-report-aims-to-overhaul-uk.html

My post on the Pirate Bay last year also links well to the topic of copyright law:

http://tommorganwinchester.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/pirate-bay-founders-have-change-of.html

Copyright in Speeches – Under Section 58 of the Act, it is not infringement to use the record of the words for reporting current events, subject to the conditions below:
  • The record is a direct record and not taken from a previous record or broadcast
  • The speaker did not prohibit in making of the record and it did not infringe any existing copyright
  • The use being made of the record, or material taken from it, was not of a kind prohibited by the speaker or copyright owner before the record was made
  • The use being made of the record is with the authority of the person who is lawfully in possession of it
Interestingly, there's no copyright infringement in reporting Parliament, the courts, or public inquiries.  Furthermore, there is normally no infringement in copying material which must be open to public inspection by Act of Parliament.

The length of time an individual holds copyright depends on a number of factors. Currently, for text, it's 70 years from the end of the year of the author's death. Broadcast, however, lasts for 50 years, as does music.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Features Post #2 - Website Progress

Work on the WINOL website is coming along nicely. After a number of meetings and discussions, the web team have decided to stick with Joomla for the time being. Whilst work continues on the Wordpress web template, which will be published very soon, Joomla serves as a temporary alternative.

The picture below is a concept of what the Wordpress template will look like. It's not a final draft, of course, and there's lots left to do. What the picture does instead is show how our existing web header will combine with our news content.


Using our Wordpress theme we will be able to show off our features using a slideshow feature. It's pleasing to the eye and gives the website a more interactive feel. It's worth noting that the slideshow gadget on the home page will differ from the gadget we will use to show the online magazine.

Below is another concept image showing the size and location of the slideshow feature.


After looking at a number of other student-led websites with Jason, I put forward the idea of having more stories displayed per line. Having more content on each row shows viewers that the website is consistently updated with content, which is is. 

The picture below shows how, by default, the Wordpress template structured stories. In Red is the placement of the story picture and in blue is the placement of the story text.

 
The picture below shows how our Wordpress template has been altered to structure stories. In Red is the placement of the story picture and in blue is the placement of the story text.


Media Law, Lecture 2, Year Three - Privacy and Confidentiality

Our second law lecture of the third year was a lesson in privacy and confidentiality, exploring topics including  Article's 8 and 10 of the Human Rights Act, case examples where privacy was key, and injunctions.

Working on WINOL every week does wonders for helping us learn about privacy issues. On a regular basis during a Monday debrief, attention will be put towards the actions a particular reporter has taken to prevent privacy issues arising. This can include techniques such as blurring a number plate using Final Cut.

In a previous blog post, I touched on surreptitious filming or recording.

"Surreptitious filming or recording should only be used where it is warranted, and normally it will be warranted if:

1) There is a prima facie evidence of a story in the public interest
2) There are reasonable grounds to suspect that further material evidence could be obtained
3) It is necessary for the credibility and authenticity of the program.

Using an example relating to WINOL will help understand privacy clearly. If a reporter, for example, was told by an interviewee off camera and then told to keep it to themselves, broadcasting what was said would class as a breach of confidentiality. Admittedly, it's sometimes the case that information revealed off camera is more interesting than anything else, but as journalists we must often respect the privacy of those we talk to.

Picture: Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
If a health professional were to share information about a patient, this would also be a breach of confidentiality.

FOI requests are put forward by WINOL reporters on a fairly regular basis, and serve as a way of gaining information that could be used to form an investigation. The Freedom of Information Act links to the themes of privacy and confidentiality as, if used correctly, it can be a particularly useful means of gathering interesting data and stories from organisations in the public sector. Any person making a request for information to a public authority is entitled to be told whether the authority holds this information and is also entitled to see it.

Finding interesting information using this act as an aid is perfect for construction stories that are of genuine interest to the public.

Unfortunately, a large majority of the act is taken up by exemption. Any information on the military / national security, for example, cannot be obtained. As journalists it's important to steer away from anything that could be defined as a security risk. Confidentiality is another hurdle.

In the lecture we discussed military information and its relationship with the Official Secrets Act 1989. This act prevents public interest being used as a defence. When reporting on information that's linked with secret military plans, such an action is considered a threat to national security  The Official Secrets Act 1989 prevents such information being leaked. Reporting information under this category will result in severe punishment  Reporters can be sentenced up to 14 years in prison for such actions.

Information can be published if its considered to be in the public interest, which is defined as:

1) Detecting or exposing crime or serious impropriety
2) Protecting public health and safety
3) Preventing the public from being misled by an action or statement of an individual or organisation

Let's take a look at how to define a breach of confidence.

1) A person is said to be in breach of confidence if they pass on information which has "the necessary quality of confidence". In other words, the information is considered important and is not already common knowledge.

AND

2) A person is said to be in breach of confidence if the information they provide was provided in "circumstances imposing an obligation". This relates to the health professional example I mentioned earlier. A private consultation with a boss or a doctor, for example.

AND

3) A person is said to be in breach of confidence if there was no permission to pass on the information.

AND

4) A person is said to be in breach of confidence if detriment is likely to be caused to the person who gave in the information.

To summarise, secret information in both a personal sense and a private / commercial sense, must have: Quality of confidence and circumstance and no permission to reveal and cause actual detriment.

If any of the factors listed above are missing, then this means that the information is not classed as confidential, and therefore it can be revealed without breach.

Next, we will take a look at injunctions.

A person who passes information to a journalist may have received it confidentially. If the person to whom the confidence belongs discovers, before the paper is published or the TV show is broadcast, that the information is to be disclosed, he/she can try to get a temporary injunction prohibiting publication of the confidential material.

During the lecture we discussed the case concerning Max Mosley. The newspapers published information concerning his private sexual affairs. An injunction on such information would have stalled the papers and prevented the information being published so soon. Injunction are fairly simple to implement as they only delay publication of material.

Super injunctions prevent the publication of the information that someone has requested an injunction. There's some interesting information on injunctions and super injunctions here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13473070

Media Law - Year Three Notes Archive

Media Law - Year Three Notes Archive
Picture: Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Media Law, Lecture 1, Year Three - Introduction and Fatal Errors

"Our first law lecture served as a refresher session and covered topics including the fatal errors system and the code of conduct."

Media Law, Lecture 2, Year Three - Privacy and Confidentiality

"Our second law lecture of the third year was a lesson in privacy and confidentiality, exploring topics including Article's 8 and 10 of the Human Rights Act, case example where privacy was key, and injunctions."

Media Law, Lecture 3, Year Three - Copyright
"For our third media law lecture we were joined by Peter Hodges. Peter is a  BBC legal expert with a fantastic knowledge in copyright and fair dealing."

Media Law, Lecture 4, Year Three - Law and Regulation for TV News

"Our first lecture with Ian Anderson focused on TV regulation and the powers of particular bodies such as the PCC and OFCOM. We looked at a number of issues surrounding these groups including their ability to control broadcasters and investigate other matters".

Media Law, Lecture 5, Year Three - Defamation

"Our second lecture with Ian Anderson focused on defamation. We looked at how to identify when a story is potentially dangerous to publish, libel defence, and defamation via pictures."

Media Law, Lecture 6, Year Three - Court Reporting and Crime

"Our sixth law lecture of the term looked at issues relating to reporting crime, and also covered prejudice, contempt of court and their effects on publishing material."

Media Law, Lecture 7, Year Three - Privilege

"Our seventh lecture in Media Law looked at privilege and its variations, along with how to identify what can be published at certain times."

Media Law, Lecture 8, Year Three - Electoral Law, TV and Radio

"Our eight lecture in Media Law looked at electoral law, including topics on how to cover events and proceedings during such times and the importance of producing fair and accurate reports."

Media Law, Lecture 9, Year Three - Investigative Journalism

"Our ninth lecture in media law looked at the world of investigative journalism  During the session, we covered topics including source protection, the difference between criminal and civil law, and relevant case examples."

Media Law, Lecture 1, Year Three - Introduction and Fatal Errors

It's been a long time since I typed up law notes onto Blogger. As ever, it's vitally important to keep up to date with ever-changing laws and case examples as we continue to produce video content and written content for Winchester News Online.

Our first law lecture served as a refresher session and covered topics including the fatal errors system and the code of conduct.

Picture: Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The thought of causing a fatal error should leave any training journalist shaking in fear. A fatal error can lead to severe legal complications, but can be avoided if you're confident with a number of key legal topics.

To begin the lecture, we studied the fatal error system put forward by the University of Winchester. This consists of six points:

1) Malice

Malice is simply defined as a statement that is untrue, which has been said to intentionally cause harm and/or damage the reputation of a person or group. Reporting on a story and deliberately leaving out particular pieces of information could also be seen as malice.

2) Dishonest presentation of sources / dishonesty generally

Dishonest presentation of sources means that an individual has attempted to promote a particular product or service. Using a personal friend or member of family as an interviewee would also come under this category.  Carrying out such an act would ultimately result in a fake / false interview piece and would therefore be classed as a fatal error.

3) Causing Disrepute / Disruption

4) Reckless inaccuracy in basic expression

5) Legal problems (without justification)

6) Regulatory problems (without justification)

Other variations of the code of conduct also exist. In an earlier post on this blog, I ran through these other examples. That post, discussing subjects including OFCOM and the code of the NUJ, can be found below:

http://tommorganwinchester.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/codes-of-conduct.html

Now we have covered the code of conduct, it's worth looking further into the areas of defamation, contempt and privacy.

Defamation

A defamatory statement or claim is either false or a malicious representation of a person, their words or their actions.

If a group is defamed, then all members of that particular group can potentially sue successfully, even though it may be that the publisher intended to only refer to one of them. An example of a famous case regarding defamatory claims is that involving Elton John in 2005. The singer sued the Sun for £1m and more information on that case can be found here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4630409.stm

For a statement to be defamatory, it must be published. In other words, the statement must be publicly available for it to be defamatory. This could be in the form of a newspaper story or a radio piece, for example. Those wishing to dispute a defamatory statement upon them (In other words, the claimant) must prove that the statement has been published. There is no defamation if the words complained of are addressed only to the person who they are made (with the exception of criminal libel)

For a statement to be considered defamatory, it must agree with the following points:

1) The statement exposes the subject to hatred, ridicule or contempt
2) The statement causes the subject to be shunned or avoided
3) The statement discredits the subject in their trade, profession or business
4) The statements lowers the subject in the eyes of right thinking members of society

It's worth noting that the defenses for defamation are: justification, fair comment and privilege.

In one of my earlier blog posts, I outlined the reasons why an organisation may be reluctant to fight a defamation action. Potential reasons include the following:

* Uncertainty of how a jury will interpret meanings: The statement that seems to one person quite innocuous may be defamatory to another
* Difficulty in proving the truth. Witnesses may be reluctant to give evidence, for example
* Huge damages could be awarded if trial lost
* Huge costs
* May prove beneficial to instead settle the matter outside of court

Contempt

Breaking contempt of court is extremely dangerous, because it has the power to damage ongoing court cases. To ensure such an incident does not take place, a journalist must ensure that if they are covering a court case, they must make a fair an accurate report.

Privacy

The subject of privacy is closely related to Articles 8 and 10 of the human rights act.

Article 8, Right to privacy:

"Everyone has the right for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence."

"There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."

Article 10, Freedom of expression:

"Everyone has the right of freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without inference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises."

"The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary."

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Feature Notes Archive

Feature Notes Archive
Features Post #1 - Website Concepts - 13th October 2012:

"I've submitted a couple of small graphics concepts to Jason to have a go at implementing, but obviously they're not final builds. The graphics serve as a means of giving us a better idea of how the website will actually look when it's complete."


Features Post #2 - Website Progress

"Work on the WINOL website is coming along nicely. After a number of meetings and discussions, the web team have decided to stick with Joomla for the time being. Whilst work continues on the Wordpress web template, which will be published very soon, Joomla serves as a temporary alternative."

Features Post #1 - Website Concepts


After a long break from University, it's nice to be back. Work is coming along nicely on the new WINOLHereandNow interactive online magazine and I'm very happy to be a part of the team.

I've been working closely with Jason French, WINOL's new website coder, watching the new website take shape. I've submitted a couple of small graphics concepts to Jason to have a go at implementing, but obviously they're not final builds.

The graphics serve as a means of giving us a better idea of how the website will actually look when it's complete. I'm currently juggling working on my own feature ideas whilst at the same time helping Jason if he needs something making for the website code.

Currently, we don't have a dedicated role for website graphics, so for now we'll make do with my efforts. Admittedly, I'm not an expert at Photoshop and it's not ideal, but it'll have to do for now.

First of all, background ideas. Looking at a number of other student websites online it was clear to see that simplicity was key. Of the selection of websites I looked at with Lee, we saw that websites either had a plain solid colour behind their content or a two/three-tone style background. I decided to mock up my own version of this for Jason to mess around with.

Background Concept (1)

I made a new header to compliment the background. It uses the grey shades at the top of the graphic above to make the header appear to be embedded.

New Concept Header (2)

Here's the original WINOL website header:

Old WINOL Header

It might be that the header I've designed is too simple. This'll have to be something I discuss with Lee and Jason. The clickable hyperlinks on the design will be likely to change also, as the website expands to cater for new content.

To give a better sense of how the header and background combine with our existing content, here's another concept image below using all those elements:

Header and Background Concept (3)

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