Category Archives: sub judice

Retired magistrate offers advice to court reporters #MLGriff

By MARK PEARSON

Decades of experience as a magistrate and lawyer inform the advice offered to court reporters in Episode #008 of our occasional Griffith University SMALL podcast – Social Media and Law Livestream.

Retired magistrate Antoine Bloemen. Photo: Anne Bloemen.

Griffith University Media Law student Elizabeth Heseltine interviews retired Western Australian magistrate Antoine Bloemen about the traps faced by novice court reporters, with some fascinating examples.

He draws upon his 40 years of expertise as a legal professional to share his insights into courtroom etiquette and the potential legal ramifications of a poorly researched and written article [Listen here: 14:26 min].


If you are a communication professional wanting to study in this area, please consider enrolling in our online courses Social Media Law and Risk Management (postgraduate, fully online) or Media Law (undergraduate, available online or on campus).

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 2022 – the moral right of the author has been asserted.

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Filed under blogging, communication, contempt of court, defamation, Internet, journalism, journalism education, libel, media law, media literacy, online education, open justice, podcast, public relations, reflective practice, risk, risk management, social media, social media law, strategic communication, sub judice, suppression, Whistleblowing

Podcast offers rare inside view of FOI process

By MARK PEARSON

Episode #007 of our occasional Griffith University SMALL podcast – Social Media and Law Livestream – looks at Freedom of Information processes from a different perspective – that of a lawyer managing the Commonwealth Government’s FOI approvals and exemptions.

FOI Act imageGriffith University Media Law student Mia Durnan interviews Senior Lawyer Rodney Durnan about Freedom of Information laws (FOI); covering basic topics like ‘what is FOI?’, the process of an application, some of the exemptions that can apply and how the FOI laws interact with privacy laws from a practical perspective.

Mr Durnan is part of In-House Counsel for a large Federal Government agency.

With more than 15 years of experience, he and his team specialise in administrative law which includes Freedom of Information and Privacy. [15:25 min] Find Mia’s interview here.


If you are a communication professional wanting to study in this area, please consider enrolling in our online courses Social Media Law and Risk Management (postgraduate, fully online) or Media Law (undergraduate, available online or on campus).

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 2022 – the moral right of the author has been asserted.

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Filed under blogging, communication, contempt of court, defamation, Internet, journalism, journalism education, libel, media law, media literacy, online education, open justice, podcast, public relations, reflective practice, risk, risk management, social media, social media law, strategic communication, sub judice, suppression, Whistleblowing

Our SMALL podcast guest: Whistleblower expert Professor AJ Brown

By MARK PEARSON

In episode #006 of our occasional SMALL podcast – Social Media and Law Livestream – I speak with academic whistleblowing expert Professor A J Brown.

AJBrown-e1489729940533Professor Brown is leader of the Centre for Governance and Public Policy’s public integrity and anti-corruption research program in Griffith University’s School of Government and International Relations.

He is on the global board of the world anti-corruption organisation Transparency International and a leading expert on public interest whistleblowing. He talks about the legal framework for whistleblowers and the implications for journalists and their confidential sources. Find our interview here [21:49min].


If you are a communication professional wanting to study in this area, please consider enrolling in our online courses Social Media Law and Risk Management (postgraduate, fully online) or Media Law (undergraduate, available online or on campus).

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 2022 – the moral right of the author has been asserted.

Leave a comment

Filed under blogging, communication, contempt of court, defamation, Internet, journalism, journalism education, libel, media law, media literacy, online education, open justice, podcast, public relations, reflective practice, risk, risk management, social media, social media law, strategic communication, sub judice, suppression, Whistleblowing

Latest SMALL podcast gets Amy Remeikis’ take on social media law

By MARK PEARSON

Episode #005 of our occasional SMALL podcast – Social Media and Law Livestream – features Guardian Australia political reporter Amy Remeikis talking media law with tutor Susan Grantham.

From court and police rounds, to reporting on Australian federal politicians, Amy (pictured below) discusses how she navigates legal risks while reporting in a wired world.

This latest episode [22:11 mins] – published on The Source News – canvasses Amy’s views on recent defamation cases including the High Court judgment against media outlets’ hosted social media comments in the Dylan Voller case. Enjoy!

If you are a communication professional wanting to study in this area, please consider enrolling in our online courses Social Media Law and Risk Management (postgraduate, fully online) or Media Law (undergraduate, available online or on campus).

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 2022 – the moral right of the author has been asserted.

Leave a comment

Filed under blogging, communication, contempt of court, defamation, Internet, journalism, journalism education, libel, media law, media literacy, online education, open justice, podcast, public relations, reflective practice, risk, risk management, social media, social media law, strategic communication, sub judice, suppression

Latest SMALL podcast looks at Israel Folau matter

By MARK PEARSON

Episode #004 of our occasional SMALL podcast – Social Media and Law Livestream – is now available for listening.

Social Media Risk and the Law.inddThis latest episode [15:00 mins] – published on The Source News – is hosted by Griffith University Media Law student Brandon McMahon.

Brandon talks with Attwood Marshall lawyer Laura Dolan about the discrimination, religious freedom, unfair dismissal and contract dimensions of the case involving former Test rugby union player Israel Folau and his social media posts. [SMALL #004].

Enjoy!


If you are a communication professional wanting to study in this area, please consider enrolling in our online courses Social Media Law and Risk Management (postgraduate, fully online) or Media Law (undergraduate, available online or on campus).

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 2021 – the moral right of the author has been asserted.

Leave a comment

Filed under blogging, communication, contempt of court, defamation, Internet, journalism, journalism education, libel, media law, media literacy, online education, open justice, podcast, public relations, reflective practice, risk, risk management, social media, social media law, strategic communication, sub judice, suppression

Two more SMALL podcasts on our Social Media And Law Livestream

By MARK PEARSON

Episodes #002 and #003 of our occasional SMALL podcast – Social Media and Law Livestream – are now available for listening.

Social Media Risk and the Law.inddThese episodes – published on The Source News – are hosted by Media Law students Amy Sauvarin and Camille Chorley.

In Episode #002 [16:37 mins], Amy chats with veteran journalist and author Uli Schmetzer about freedom of expression and his encounters with censorship over his four decade career as a foreign correspondent. For more information on his books and reportage, see http://www.uli-schmetzer.com/index.html.

In Episode #003  [20 mins], Camille talks with ABC Landline producer and ABC News cadet trainer John Taylor about free expression issues in foreign correspondence, court reporting, social media and training journalists in media law. See his bio at https://www.abc.net.au/news/john-taylor/167072.

Enjoy!


If you are a communication professional wanting to study in this area, please consider enrolling in our online courses Social Media Law and Risk Management (postgraduate, fully online) or Media Law (undergraduate, available online or on campus).

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 2021 – the moral right of the author has been asserted.

Leave a comment

Filed under blogging, communication, contempt of court, defamation, Internet, journalism, journalism education, libel, media law, media literacy, online education, open justice, podcast, public relations, reflective practice, risk, risk management, social media, social media law, strategic communication, sub judice, suppression

Welcome to our SMALL podcast – Social Media And Law Livestream

By MARK PEARSON

The first episode of our occasional SMALL podcast – Social Media and Law Livestream – is now available for listening.

Social Media Risk and the Law.inddIn this first 11 minute episode – hosted on The Source News – I interview co-author Dr Susan Grantham about issues in social media risk and the law covered in our new book, Social Media Risk and the Law – A Guide for Global Communicators, published in September 2021 by Routledge.

We discuss the intersection of social media risk theory and the law, the tools available to assess social media risk, the point at which brand and reputation damage become defamatory, the role of stakeholder theory in assessing social media risk, and the legal risks for employees who use their private social media channels to criticise their organisations.

We plan to feature a wide variety of short interviews with social media law experts on a range of topics over coming weeks and months, with many of the interviews conducted by students undertaking our media law and social media law classes.

SMALL podcast #001 – Dr Susan Grantham – ‘Social media risk and the law’ – interviewed by Mark Pearson [11 min]


If you are a communication professional wanting to study in this area, please consider enrolling in our online courses Social Media Law and Risk Management (postgraduate, fully online) or Media Law (undergraduate, available online or on campus).

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 2021 – the moral right of the author has been asserted.

Leave a comment

Filed under blogging, communication, contempt of court, defamation, Internet, journalism, journalism education, libel, media law, media literacy, online education, open justice, podcast, public relations, reflective practice, risk, risk management, social media, social media law, strategic communication, sub judice, suppression

Ten steps for assessing your social media risk

By MARK PEARSON

Colleague Susan Grantham and I have just co-written a new book, Social Media Risk and the Law – A Guide for Global Communicators, published in September 2021 by Routledge.  

Social Media Risk and the Law.inddIt presents a stakeholder-oriented approach to risk minimisation designed to help social media managers and moderators anticipate, identify, address and balance these dangers and opportunities.

As part of its launch we have written a blog on the Routledge site about the importance of understanding how to engage with online and social media conversations. We recommend ten steps to best establish a general social media legal risk assessment that applies to your overall professional social media use and the way it interacts with your organization’s policies and processes. You can find our blog on the ten steps here. Enjoy!


If you are a communication professional wanting to study in this area, please consider enrolling in our online courses Social Media Law and Risk Management (postgraduate, fully online) or Media Law (undergraduate, available online or on campus).

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 2021 – the moral right of the author has been asserted.

Leave a comment

Filed under censorship, communication, defamation, First Amendment, free expression, intellectual property, Internet, journalism, journalism education, libel, media ethics, Media freedom, media law, media literacy, Media regulation, national security, open justice, Press freedom, Privacy, public relations, reflective practice, risk, risk management, social media, sub judice, suppression

How to stay out of court while using social media in business

By MARK PEARSON

Social media offers unlimited opportunities, but professional communicators need effective risk analysis strategies to assess potential legal hazards when posting or hosting content.

Screen Shot 2021-04-09 at 2.15.24 pmA stakeholder-oriented approach to risk minimisation can help social media managers and moderators anticipate, identify, address and balance these dangers and opportunities.

In our new book, colleague Susan Grantham and I have identified ten key questions an organisation might ask in establishing its level of social media legal exposure.

I review these ten questions and a further five specific questions for analysing specific social media legal risks in my latest blog in Griffith University’s Professional Learning Hub’s Thought Leadership series here.


If you are a communication professional wanting to study in this area, please consider enrolling in our online courses Social Media Law and Risk Management (postgraduate) or Media Law (undergraduate).

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 2021 – the moral right of the author has been asserted.

Leave a comment

Filed under censorship, communication, defamation, First Amendment, free expression, intellectual property, Internet, journalism, journalism education, libel, media ethics, Media freedom, media law, media literacy, Media regulation, national security, open justice, Press freedom, Privacy, public relations, reflective practice, risk, risk management, social media, sub judice, suppression

Insights into open justice law reform

By MARK PEARSON

The NSW Law Reform Commission is conducting a review into open justice. 

Congratulations to the NSW Government for commissioning such a review.

Here are some insights I will be presenting to a roundtable convened by the commission. Some are drawn from a joint preliminary submission I prepared with colleagues Jane Johnston, Patrick Keyzer and Anne Wallace. Others are my own views after considering the Commission’s Consultation Paper 22 on the topic.

1. Macro versus micro issues

My first major concern is to do with the nature of most such inquiries – their primary focus is on the reform of the law related to the topic in the particular jurisdiction – in this case NSW. While this inquiry’s terms of reference do direct it to consider the findings of the (Commonwealth) Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse regarding the public interest in exposing child sexual abuse offending and ‘comparable legal and practical arrangements elsewhere in Australia and overseas’, the latter consideration is mainly used as a reference point to help guide the NSW reforms. There is too little encouraging steps towards uniformity of the laws across jurisdictions, which should be the number one priority in an era where media and social media defy jurisdictional borders. To this end:

a. A key recommendation should be to collaborate with other jurisdictions (perhaps using joint law reform commission inquiries on such matters) to achieve a semblance of uniformity so that journalists and others do not need to know the myriad of publishing restrictions that might apply to a single investigation or post across multiple states and territories (plus the Commonwealth).

b. When reviewing the micro changes to particular rules or laws affecting media research or publication, such inquiries should provide a table of inter-jurisdictional approaches to the topic and then propose the most common/popular approach as the default, only supplanted by compelling arguments to the contrary. This would represent a significant step to uniformity on each facet of the reforms.

c. Reform commissions should seek out national solutions to cross-jurisdictional publishing problems. For example, on the topic of a register of suppression orders, a recommendation should be that the Attorney-General be advised to bring forward to the Meeting of Attorneys-General (MAG) a proposal for a new national register of suppression orders, with all state, territory and Commonwealth jurisdictions feeding into the system. The Commission should be applauded for suggesting a national regime for access to court documents as part of its consultation paper (at p. 155).

2. Micro issues

I bring to the roundtable some views on the specific topic at hand – ‘Enforcing restrictions on publication or disclosure and other digital technology issues’.

a. The Commission is considering two options to help increase awareness of the existence of suppression and non-publication orders – to either to improve the notification system by establishing a new public body to notify likely parties that a suppression order exists, or to create a searchable register of NSW suppression orders available to the public and/or the media. To my mind, these options should not be mutually exclusive. Both could be proposed, and the proposal for a register should suggest a collaboration for a new national system. Any notification body should also be briefed to monitor social media actively for breaches and notifications/warnings, because the mainstream media is strongly disadvantaged by the current situation that allows for rampant social media discussion in breach of suppression orders while the media, who are aware of such orders, have their hands tied and continue to lose audience to social media in the process.

b. The issue of the extraterritorial application of offences for the breach of NSW publishing restrictions also has strong social media vs mainstream media dimensions. A breach by traditional media becomes much more obvious and enforceable, even though its audience might only number in the thousands while social media users might be committing the same breach in their millions. This happened in the Pell case in Victoria. So too did the international breach of orders by major media entities beyond the reach of prosecutors. It can become futile to issue and attempt to enforce restrictions when there is no international reach. Nevertheless, a social media active approach by the proposed new public body could make some inroads.

c. International online intermediaries need to be held account for not acting within a reasonable time to remove flagrant breaches of publishing restrictions once they have been brought to their attention. Given the size of such operations, a 24 hour notice period should be negotiable starting point as a time limit after notification. Again, a new public body established in this space could be responsible for monitoring and initiating such demands on a routine basis.

d. The myriad of offences, penalties, elements and exceptions certainly require standardisation to a recklessness standard. Strict liability is too high a hurdle given the widespread level of court and justice illiteracy among the broader social media population. Financially stricken mainstream media organisation have also reduced training in this space. A new public body with judicial powers could institute a warning system once a breach has been identified, and breaches could then be dealt with as disobedience contempt or at an “intent” level if the breach recurs after the warning.

e. This approach would feed into the question of support standardising penalties across the different offences. Defiance of an order could be dealt with harshly under the disobedience contempt powers of the new public body. However, in a democratic society jail penalties should only be used in the most extreme cases of disobedience, and certainly not at first instance. Financial penalties – perhaps accompanied by other innovative orders related to suspension of social media use – should be preferred. The scale of financial penalties can increase for the most serious cases once imprisonment is removed from the equation.

f. Two years is too long a period to bring a prosecution for a publishing offence. A one year limitation period applies effectively to defamation, so there is no reason why it should not also apply to such publishing offences.

g. The suggestion to establish a Court Information Commissioner should be applauded, with the functions as described in the report.

h. Proposals for helping avoid juror to exposure to prejudicial information are reasonable, particularly having them swear or affirm they will not make inquiries, repeating jury directions and allowing judge-alone trials when pre-trial publicity has stood to prejudice proceedings. However, missing here is the mention of juror training in the area. A simple juror course on the issue can be administered and tested online and would add to their understanding of the issue. Again, this is a topic that should be reformed nationally.

i. The extent to which the use of social media in court by journalists should be examined as part of national reform. Journalists attend court in different jurisdictions and there needs to be uniformity. A 15 minute delay before posting is a reasonable approach.

j. As virtual courts become more necessary and common, they should be as open to the public and media as other proceedings given the importance of open justice as a principle. New rules might need development and reinforcement, such as a ban on the screen capturing of images or broadcasting footage from proceedings, as with recent BBC contempt fine – https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/bbc-fined-28000-for-broadcasting-footage-of-remote-hearing/5107273.article


© Mark Pearson 2021

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.

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Filed under contempt of court, courts, media ethics, Media freedom, media law, Media regulation, open justice, sub judice