Are you up to date with online laws?

From Press Gazette
The National Council for the Training of Journalists is preparing exam scenarios for media law to account for new issues arising in online journalism. The NCTJ’s law examination board is set to discuss the issue at its meeting next month, and its chairman, Sheffield University lecturer Mark Hanna, is seeking feedback from editors whose websites have faced threats of legal action.

“It’s a case of stressing the need for people to think in an online dimension and to make sure our exam scenarios recognise the extent of online publication,” said Hanna.

Other areas that may gain greater prominence are new legal challenges unique to the web, such as contempt of court risks arising from online archives and privacy or defamation concerns related to the growth of user-submitted content.

“We’re trying to assess what is a relatively common problem and what is going to be a rare problem. Because websites attached to local newspapers are still a fairly new development, we’re not sure how much stress we should give to particular aspects of online law yet,” Hanna said.

“We’re trying to decide how much the student journalist or trainee should be expected to know, because in some cases the law is still evolving. We can’t expect them to be experts — we need to make them a safe pair of hands generally.”

• The 19th edition of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists, which is set to be published in June by Oxford University Press, will include a new chapter about online publishing law.

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