Social Networking Blog

Guy Clapperton on the evolving new media

Bloggers might be above the law

Image by hugovk via Flickr

A judgement in the UK suggests that reporting restrictions might not apply to bloggers if they don’t know restrictions have been imposed. The story is here on the Out-Law website.

The idea actually overturns the idea that ignorance should be no excuse in the eyes of the law. I’m not at all sure how I feel about this. Many bloggers have no training as journalists and the way they write and conduct themselves on their sites does suggest they anticipate a bit of leeway.

But where’s this going to stop? Can we assume that people not aware of the libel laws can’t libel people? This would be a nonsense.

The larger picture is that reporting restrictions need re-examination or globalisation in some way. The case in question involves a 12 year old accused of fathering a child and the reporting restrictions apply in the UK but not overseas – so you can find it on the Web. The Web is making a nonsense of localised restrictions just about everywhere, and now bloggers are being exempt from them as long as they didn’t know.

I can only see this getting messier.

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April 2, 2009 - Posted by | social media trends | , , , , , , ,


  1. Guy
    I think it is a real problem, especially when organisations are starting to be publishers by virtue of blogs, Twitter, internet forums, etc, but do not have a publishing background or sufficient in-house expertise to spot the risks. We covered the topic covered here in the most recent blog posts:

    Comment by jon clements | April 2, 2009

  2. I suppose we get back to the idea of teaching this stuff in schools – which of course I scoffed at in this very blog only recently.

    Comment by guyclapperton | April 2, 2009

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