Comparative Media Law and Ethics by Tim Crook

Companion website for



to be published by Routledge on 15th December 2009

For details of the book, please visit Routledge.

Author's profile at Goldsmiths, University of London


Media Law Stories October/November 2009

Hoaxing Tabloid Culture

Starsuckers’ hoax on UK tabloids

Newspaper celebrity hoaxes: 'An incredibly small supply of news stories around celebrities' - Janine Gibson, editor of, on Starsuckers - a documentary about hoaxing papers with fake celebrity stories


The Guardian and Trafigura ‘Super-injunctions’

Charlie Booker satirizes ‘Super-injunctions’ in English and Welsh legal system

Summary of Trafigura injunction story in the Guardian

Guardian Editorial on role of Twitter and New Media in undermining impact of injunction censorship

Guardian editor urges Speaker to go ahead with debate on Trafigura gag

Former Guardian Editor Peter Preston on role of blogosphere in defeating super-injunction

Emily Bell on role of social networks in news

Balanced analysis of super-injunction debate in the UK by Frances Gibb, legal editor of the Times. November 2009. ‘Will the internet be the death of the super-injunction?’

Misreporting by the media of Carter-Ruck’s legal strategy in Trafigura ‘super-injunction’ and Parliamentary Privilege Row:

1. They never sought to obtain a legal injunction to undermine or block the exercise of parliamentary privilege on freedom of speech;
2. No such injunction was applied for, or ever issued by any court;
3. They had written to the Guardian advising of the risk that the newspaper’s intended reporting of a parliamentary question would breach an existing injunction (The Guardian had agreed to) unless the injunction was amended to anticipate the tabling of the parliamentary question.
4. They were prepared to agree to a variation of the injunction to enable the Guardian to report the parliamentary question and in fact ‘the parties duly agreed an appropriate amendment to the injunction Orders that nothing in those Orders would prevent reporting of Parliamentary Proceedings.’

The firm has released the copy of a letter they sent to the Speaker of the House of Commons clarifying the situation.


UK legal battle over release of rendition torture allegations/evidence.

Judges order release, but UK government appeals.

MI5 Director General justifies use of torture intelligence

Civil rights lawyer Clive Stafford-Smith says ‘MI5 can't keep turning a blind eye to torture’


Investigation of the UK Court of Protection by Mail on Sunday

Editorial on problems with the Court of Protection

‘The secret court of living hell: Straw promises to review Court of Protection after MoS exposes shocking catalogue of flaws’

Legal action by Independent newspaper and other media groups secures journalistic access to covering the Court of Protection. Report Friday November 13th 2009.

The edited ruling by Mr Justice Hedley handed down on Thursday 12th November 2009. A court order prevents any publication of information leading to the identification of the parties involved in the Court of Protection proceedings.

Article in Mail on Sunday 15th November 2009

‘Ruling opens court of protection to media outlets including the Guardian- win right to attend hearings held in normally secretive court about celebrity with learning difficulties’


The Independent newspaper on courts gagging whistle-blowers’ exposure of scandal

Independent newspaper’s editorial


The Debate on England’s Libel Laws

Campaigning against English and Welsh libel laws

Melanie Phillips in Spectator Magazine on ‘libel tourism’. 19th December 2008

The Sunday Times on the injustice of English libel laws and the phenomenon of ‘libel tourism.’ 1st November 2009

The Sunday Times on the moves by US publishers to block distribution in Britain because of its claimant friendly libel laws. 8th November 2009

‘Libel law reform campaign launched to stop England becoming 'global pariah'Free speech and human rights groups call for change after issuing stark warning on current legislation’ published in the Guardian 10th November 2009

Article 19 and English Pen release report on English libel reform. Summary of recommendations

‘English libel law stifles freedom of expression worldwide’ opinion article published in the Guardian Tuesday November 10th by Simon Singh

9 OCTOBER 2009

‘Libel cases at record high as the rich and famous use British courts to silence their critics’ Daily Mail 21st November 2009.

Sweet & Maxwell research on English defamation cases. July 2009-11-22.

Jack Straw pledges action to end libel tourism. Sunday Times 22nd November 2009.

Jack Straw promises reform of libel laws. Press Gazette (UK) 23rd November 2009.

‘It's official - London is the libel capital of the world’ excellent article by Frances Gibb, Legal Editor of The Times on the increase in libel actions in England & Wales.

Cross-party reform of England’s libel laws planned for in the House of Lords. Article in the Sunday Times 29th November 2009.

Plans for Secret British Inquests

The Times on how the UK government is seeking powers to turn embarrassing and controversial inquests into secret hearings and enquiries.

Labour forces secret inquests Bill through the Commons by Independent legal editor Robert Verkaik 10th November 2009.

Independent editorial on secret inquests entitled ‘Closed Justice’ 10th November 2009.



‘Big Brother’ and the Surveillance State

Police political database on protestors as ‘extremists’ Guardian coverage

The debate over rebranding lawful protest as 'domestic extremism'

Spotter cards: What they look like and how they work

Parliamentary evidence on how New Labour reformed the constitutional role of Lord Chancellor.

The Times:

The Mail on Sunday:

Key media law cases for Canada’s Supreme Court Autumn 2009

President Obama signs law that blocks ACLU release of torture pictures suit before Supreme Court.

President Obama endorses legislation for federal shield bill on journalists’ sources.

The shift to open scrutiny in the US system of juvenile justice.



UK Press Complaints Commission - Abolish, reform or preserve


Attacks on the UK Press Complaints Commission

From Geoffrey Robertson QC in the Guardian. November 12th 2009

Extract from Geoffrey Robertson’s speech. November 12th 2009

UK Press Complaints Commission report on Guardian newspaper allegations about more widespread hacking of mobile phone communications

Alan Rusbridger: PCC phone-hacking report is 'worse than pointless'. November 2009.

Louis Blom-Cooper QC argues ‘PCC has a role to play.’ Guardian 30th November 2009.

Four commentators on ‘What should be done with the Press Complaints Commission?’ Guardian Monday 23rd November 2009.


The Telephone Hacking debate


Throughout the summer, autumn and winter of 2009 the UK media has been dominated by a scandal that telephone/mobile hacking was much more widespread than revealed in the Old Bailey trial of the News Of the World’s former royal editor and a private detective hired on a retainer for journalistic research. Guardian investigative journalist Nick Davies broke the story that the NOW had settled a legal action by Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association.

Guardian editorial on the failure of the Press Complaints Commission to investigate

‘Telephone hacking: Cursory and complacent’ 9th November 2009-11-30.

The House of Commons Select Committee on culture, media and sport decided to take detailed evidence on the issue during their enquiry into press standards, libel and privacy. ‘Uncorrected evidence’ is available as public record with House of Commons qualified privilege.

The key and most significant evidence backing the Guardian story was provided by the much respected solicitor-advocate Mark Lewis on 2nd September 2009.

Evidence from Nick Davies when he appeared before the committee 14th July 2009.

Bear in mind the following legal stricture on the Parliamentary website:
‘Any public use of, or reference to, the contents should make clear that neither witnesses nor Members have had the opportunity to correct the record. The transcript is not yet an approved formal record of these proceedings.’