Law guru predicts more exams

Law exams for trainee journalists may have to be split into two
stages because of the weight of new legislation affecting the press.

Walter
Greenwood, chairman of the NCTJ’s law board, made the prediction at the
launch of the new edition of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists,
which he has co-edited with Tom Welsh and David Banks.

Greenwood
said the Queen’s Speech that opened parliament in May proposed 50 new
bills – many of which would include offences which could unwittingly be
committed by journalists.

He said: “There can be few countries in
the Western world that have so many legal regulations on reporting the
courts. In matters of newspaper law it is more of a constant drip of
legislation continuing year after year and gradually eroding the
freedom to report.”

Greenwood asked: “As almost every year the
range of reporting law widens yet further, can young journalists be
required to absorb it all?

“I believe – and this is purely a
personal opinion – that the time will come when some newspaper law will
have to be studied at an early stage and some much later, when young
journalists in general, and not just the bright stars, have acquired
the capacity to understand the effect of the law in particular stories.

“At
our law board meeting in October we will be taking a look at the
possibility of a two-stage qualification, to include some updating on
new law.”

Essential Law for Journalists

THE NEW EDITION

The 18th edition of Essential Law for Journalists has been updated
to include coverage of the implications for the media of the Serious
Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, plus new measures under the
Freedom of Information Act and other legislation. It also contains a
separate chapter for photographers, as well as tables of cases and
legislative material.

The book has a new companion website which will be regularly updated to cover the latest media law developments.

It is published by Oxford University Press, price £16.99. The website is at: http://www.oup.com/uk/booksites/law/media

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