Lord Falconer to address Press Gazette media law conference

Lord Chancellor Charles Falconer has agreed to address journalists and media lawyers as the keynote speaker at this year’s law conference organised by Press Gazette and the Newspaper Society.

Falconer should get some interesting questions from the audience, as a Lord Chancellor whose views have often been at odds with those of many journalists.

Two weeks ago, he told an audience of lawyers that ‘people, not the press, must be the priority’when it comes to Freedom of Information, adding: ‘There is a right to know, not a right to tell.’Falconer has been behind proposals to curb the Freedom of Information Act and to impose new restrictions on reporting of coroners’ courts.

But he has also won praise as the Lord Chancellor who helped bring in the Freedom of Information Act in the first place.

Other speakers for Media Law 07, previously called Law for Journalists, include Times Newspapers legal manager Alastair Brett, Guardian readers’ editor and former head lawyer Siobhain Butterworth and Andrew Caldecott QC.

David Smith, the deputy Information Commissioner, will give a talk entitled ‘The Information Commissioner – media friend or media foe?’His office has come in for strong criticism from journalists because of lengthy delays in dealing with appeals made under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Information Commissioner has in turn been critical of the press and called for the jailing of journalists who buy and sell secret information.

The conference will conclude with a debate chaired by comedian and former barrister Clive Anderson.

For more information, see pressgazette.co.uk or call 020 7549 8719.

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