Tag: Freedom of Expression

Great news: criminal libel case in France against Joe Weiler is dismissed

Journal Editor Wins Libel Case Over Negative Book Review

March 3, 2011, 1:49 pm

A journal editor who was sued in France for criminal libel because of a negative book review has won his case, he told The Chronicle today. Joseph H.H. Weiler, a professor of law at New York University, said that a French court had ruled against the complaint brought against him by Karin N. Calvo-Goller, a scholar in Israel. Ms. Calvo-Goller took issue with a critical review of one of her books on the Global Law Books Web site, which Mr. Weiler edits. 


Fair Game (2010) – IMDb – A thriller based on a book the CIA litigated to redact

Fair Game Poster

More at IMDbPro

Fair Game (I) (2010)

… CIA operative Valerie Plame discovers her identity is allegedly leaked by the government as payback for an op-ed article her husband wrote criticizing the Bush administration. …

Stars: Naomi Watts, Sean Penn and Sonya Davison

… Plame’s status as a CIA agent was revealed by White House officials allegedly out to discredit her husband after he wrote a 2003 New York Times op-ed piece saying that the Bush administration had manipulated intelligence about weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq.

This movie is based on the experiences of Valerie Plame, about whom I have blogged here. The case about the redaction of the book which became the screenplay is here. Given that trailers and posters for the movie have been appearing over the last short while, I don’t expect it to suffer the same direct-to-dvd fate as befell Nothing But the Truth, more loosely based on the experiences of Judith Miller, about whom I have blogged here.

Case Law: Abdul v DPP, “British Soldiers go to Hell” and free speech – Isabel McArdle « Inforrm’s Blog


In Munim Abdul and Others v Director of Public Prosecutions [2011] EWHC 247 (Admin) the High Court ruled that prosecution of a group of people who had shouted slogans, including, “burn in hell”, “baby killers” and “rapists” at a parade of British soldiers, was not a breach of their right to freedom of expression, protected by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The men’s appeal was dismissed. Not all speech is protected by freedom of expression rights, and not all protest is legitimate in the eyes of the state.

This post originally appeared on the UK Human Rights Blog and is reproduced with permission and thanks.

Case Law: JIH v News Group Newspapers, anonymity regained – Edward Craven « Inforrm’s Blog


The Court of Appeal today handed down judgment in the case of JIH v News Group Newspapers Ltd ([2011] EWCA 42).  In allowing the appeal against the order of Tugendhat J ([2010] EWHC 2818 (QB)) the Court ordered that the claimant’s anonymity should be restored.  Although the Court stressed that each decision is fact sensitive, this approach seems likely to be followed in most types of privacy injunction cases.  This eagerly awaited decision adds to the growing body of case law concerning reporting restrictions where an injunction has been granted to restrain publication of information about a claimant’s private life.

The JIH judgment makes interesting reading for two reasons. First, it contains an important discussion about the ways in which reporting restrictions should be tailored in order to best serve the public interest in open justice whilst still providing adequate protection for the parties’ Article 8 rights. Recognising that there is a usually tension between disclosing the identity of the parties to a claim and disclosing the nature of the information that is the subject of the claim, the court plumps for the latter on the facts of JIH. In so doing, the court offers strong support for those who believe that the public interest is usually better served by disclosure of details about the injuncted information itself (together with anonymity for the claimant if necessary) rather than publication of the bare fact that a named individual has obtained an injunction in respect of unspecified information.  Secondly, the judgment also provides an authoritative general summary of the principles that the courts will apply when deciding whether or not to grant anonymity in a privacy claim. This will serve as a useful reference point for practitioners, clients and judges in future cases.

Blanket reporting restriction set aside by Court of Appeal | RPC Privacy Blog

The Court of Appeal has discharged an order the effect of which would have been to postpone the reporting of an important criminal case for several months.  The case relates to the shocking murder of a 15-year-old boy last year in front of hundreds of commuters during the rush hour at London’s Victoria Station.  Following the lifting of reporting restrictions, the case has been widely reported, including here and here.

… The Court of Appeal’s judgment has not, so far as we know, been transcribed or reported elsewhere.

Contrast today’s reports that many UK MPs want to ban the naming of suspects to avoid media feeding frenzies. As Obiter J explains:

In June 2010 the Anonymity (Arrested Persons) Bill received its first reading in the House of Commons and a second reading is scheduled for 4th February 2011.  This is a private member’s bill introduced (well before the Yeates case) by Anna Soubry MP but it looks as if Kenneth Clarke (Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor) and Dominic Grieve (Attorney-General) are now lending the bill their support.  If it becomes law then we, the public, would not know who has been arrested for questioning by the Police. 


Blawg Review #294: MLK, Jr. Day edition

Blawg Review #294: MLK, Jr. Day edition

This is certainly an odd week to be hosting the MLK Day edition of Blawg Review and almost all of it has to do with the events in Arizona, late last week. …

It seems that the shooting has also spurred an interesting debate on the role of the First Amendment and there, it seems, has been some talk on how to curb vitriolic speech. … Interestingly enough, during that bizarre show on the floor of the house where the Constitution was read – for hours – it was Rep. Giffords who read out portions of the First Amendment …

A wonderful post, well worth reading.

TV3 wants end to broadcast media blackout prior to election · TheJournal.ie

TV3 wants end to broadcast media blackout prior to election

Image: Gruenemann via Flickr


TV3 IS “DEMANDING” an end to the moratorium which forbids broadcast media from reporting most political coverage just prior to a general election. …

Currently, a 48-hour moratorium is applied to such reporting on the day prior to polling and on the day the country goes to the polls. … In a statement today, TV3 says … that “there is no legal requirement for the moratorium under Irish law” and that there is no provision in the Broadcast Act of 2009 for such a moratorium. TV3 also questions the legality of the moratorium in relation to the free speech guarantees set out in the Irish Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights. …

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland confirmed to TheJournal.ie that they have received the submission for TV3 and are giving it their “full consideration”. A spokesperson for the BAI said that the body is currently working on the final draft code for broadcasting during and in the run-up to the election. (This is the Draft Election Code, which can be viewed in full here) …

The moratorium flows from the BAI’s interpretation of s39 of the Broadcasting Act, 2009, rather than from the Act itself (following similar interpretations of earlier legislation by the BAI’s predecessor bodies). This particular practice has yet been challenged in the court, but since it is a restriction upon political speech, any case taken by TV3 should in principle have a good chance of success, though a strong interpretation of Murphy v IRTC [1999] 1 IR 12 (SC) may stymie them.

In any event, I would be grateful if anyone can point me towards the TV3 submission to the BAI, or even to the full text of TV3’s statement.

Balkinization >> Why the U.S. Shouldn’t Prosecute Assange

Why the U.S. Shouldn’t Prosecute Assange–For the U.S.’s Sake, Not His


Marvin Ammori


… Many of our nation’s landmark free speech decisions are not about heroes–several are about flag-burnersracists, Klansmen, and those with political views outside the mainstream. And yet we measure our commitment to freedom of speech, in part, by our willingness to protect even their rights despite disagreement with what they say, and why they say it.

… I end up, with Assange, where I do with racists and Klansmen. Despite the damage he has caused, the costs to our nation of prosecuting his speech outweigh the benefits. I hope our nation’s lawyers consider the merits of this position in determining how best to respond to Assange and Cablegate.

This is an extract from a very long post which is well worth reading. It is a thorough, well-considered and compelling case. As with Marvin, I too end up with Assange where I do with racists and Klansmen: we can’t choose who should benefit from rights – they ought to be available to everyone, racists and Julian Assange as well as the people we like.

See also Wikileaks: International Free Speech Reps Urge Restraint (First Amendment Law Prof Blog) and WikiLeaks and our obligations to the web of tellings: the principles of free speech, discretion and bearing witness come into conflict when considering a case such as WikiLeaks by Nicholas Shackel in the Guardian.