By MARK PEARSON Follow @Journlaw
An advance copy of the sixth edition of The Journalist’s Guide to Media Law (Allen & Unwin, 2019) which I co-author with Mark Polden just arrived in my letter box, ready for the 2019 academic year.
The new edition has had major revisions. Some highlights of important new content covered in the sixth edition include:
- consideration of several recent High Court decisions impacting on free expression, publication and media law defences
- legal implications of ‘fake’ or false news
- a new table summarising the mindful approach to media law practice, mapping situations against approaches
- major criminal cases challenging the boundaries of open justice, including those involving high profile church figures and celebrities
- new case studies in navigating crime reporting with a focus on the Yahoo!7 story that prompted the discharge of a jury in a murder trial
- significant developments in defamation law, including record damages awards to actor Rebel Wilson (reduced after appeal) and barrister Lloyd Rayney
- important new research showing that many more defamation actions are being brought by private individuals over internet and social media publications, as distinct from celebrities suing the media
- examination of publisher liability for the comments of third parties in the wake of several new cases, with some holding publishers responsible
- an update on confidentiality of sources, including some new breach of confidence actions and some cases testing the limits of new shield laws for journalists
- a review of the suite of new anti-terrorism laws impacting the media’s reporting of crime and national security and jeopardising the confidentiality of their sources
- key new intellectual property cases that have shed light on the media’s use of material sourced from the internet and social media
- significant cases showing the rapidly developing body of privacy law in the digital era
- new material in the law of freelancing, public relations and new media entrepreneurship showing the growing legal risks and responsibilities at the business end of communication practice.
There is also an increased emphasis on the higher pressure and pace of the 24/7 news cycle across a range of media, exacerbating the risks to communicators and publishers through their own work and the contributions of third-party commenters on their social media feeds and sites.
Like earlier editions, the book aims to give professional communicators and students a basic working understanding of the key areas of media law and ethical regulation likely to affect them in their research, writing and publishing across media platforms. It tries to do this by introducing the basic legal concepts while exploring the ways in which a professional communicator’s work practices can be adapted to withstand legal challenges.
As the publisher’s promo states:
A practical guide for journalists, public relations and marketing professionals, bloggers and social media experts to staying on the right side of the law.
We are all journalists and publishers now: at the touch of a button we can send our words, sounds and images out to the world. No matter whether you’re a traditional journalist, a blogger, a public relations practitioner or a social media editor, everything you publish or broadcast is subject to the law. But which law?
This widely used practical guide to communication law is essential reading for anyone who writes or broadcasts professionally, whether in journalism or strategic communication. It offers a mindful approach to assessing media law risks so practitioners can navigate legal and ethical barriers to publishing in mainstream and social media.
This sixth edition has been substantially revised to reflect recent developments in litigation, and the impact of national security laws and the rising gig economy where graduates might work in the news media, PR, new media start-ups, or as freelancers. It covers defamation, contempt, confidentiality, privacy, trespass, intellectual property, and ethical regulation, as well as the special challenges of commenting on criminal allegations and trials. Recent cases and examples from social media, journalism and public relations are used to illustrate key points and new developments.
Whether you work in a news room, in public relations or marketing, or blog from home, make sure you have The Journalist’s Guide to Media Law at your side.
‘Whether you’re an MSM editor or reporter, a blogger, a tweeter or a personal brand, this book might save your bacon.’ – Jonathan Holmes, former ABC Media Watch host
‘The leading text book from which most journos learned their law’ – Margaret Simons, associate professor in journalism, Monash University
Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.
© Mark Pearson 2018 – the moral right of the author has been asserted.