Manuel v Malema in the Supreme Court of Appeal

posted in Defamation, Disinformation, Fact v opinion, Fair comment, Fake news, Freedom of expression, Media law, Musings on Media, Reasonableness defence on by

The Supreme Court of Appeal handed down a significant (and lengthy) judgment on defamation law on 17 December 2020, in the defamation case brought by Trevor Manuel against the Economic Freedom Fighters.  You can read the judgment here

In short, the SCA held that the EFF had unlawfully defamed Manuel (ie they published a defamatory media statement alleging he as corrupt and nepotistic without any legal basis at all), and granted Manuel declaratory and interdictory relief.  The SCA referred the issue of whether the EFF should apologise to Manuel, and the quantum of damages, for oral hearing.

I wrote a piece in Daily Maverick a few days after the judgment: read it here . I also reproduce it below – as my students know, it’s always nice to be able to quote Shakespeare.

Continue reading

Season 1 of media law podcasts now complete: Publish responsibly

posted in Defamation, Disinformation, Fact v opinion, Fair comment, Fake news, Freedom of expression, Media law, Musings on Media, Podcast on by

All five of our media law podcasts have now been uploaded.  You will find episode 5 here.

It is one of my favourites.  To properly understand the case we discuss – where two veteran journalists sued the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), and won – you need to go back over 30 years.  My guests are the journalists who brought the case – Thandeka Gqubule-Mbeki and Prof Anton Harber, accused by the EFF of being Stratcom agents.  Read the case before you listen to the podcast here.

For the full season 1 podcasts, you can find links in my blogs below.  Or if you prefer, search for “Webber Wentzel Legal Insights” wherever you get your podcasts (Apple, Google, Spotify).  You will find them easily (and other interesting podcasts from Webber Wentzel, eg the impact of COVID19 on the tech sector).   You can access the Spotify podcasts here.

 

 

 

 

Media law Podcast – Episode 4 (Media ethics)

posted in Uncategorized on by

Take a listen to episode 4 in the Webber Wentzel Media law podcast series, avalable on Spotify, Apple podcasts and here

Who better to talk about ethics in the media world than the Press Ombudsman, Pippa Green, and Wits journalism professor Glenda Daniels?

It was a fascinating discussion- covering a wide range of topics from credibility, rights of reply, sources, privacy and public interest, and regulating online comments.

Hope you enjoy.

Next week Wednesday, the last episode in this series : I interview Prof Anton Harber and Thandeka Gqubule-Mbeki about this case.

 

 

More media law podcasts – disinformation and surveillance

posted in amaBhungane, Bulk surveillance, COVID-19, Defamation, Disinformation, Fake news, Media law, Musings on Media, Podcast, Privacy, RICA, Surveillance on by

Following the release of the very popular open justice podcast (episode 1), you can now listen to episodes 2 and 3.  Listen to all the episodes here or on Spotify or Apple.

In episode 2, I discuss disinformation and whether legal regulation is required, with William Bird of Media Monitoring Africa.  This was recorded before the COVID-19 disaster declaration – we now have, of course, a crime of publishing fake news about COVID-19.  See my previous blog on that crime here.

Then, in episode 3, I discuss unlawful surveillance – especially of journalists – with Sam Sole of amaBhungane, and Prof Jane Duncan, an expert in the field.  You can read Sutherland J’s famous judgment in favour of amaBhungane and Sam in their challenge to RICA here and my blog on his judgment here. We eagerly await the Constitutional Court’s ruling in the confirmation application, heard on 25 February 2020.  Incidentally, COVID-19 brought its own surveillance legislation – in the form of the track and trace regulations; read about them in my blog here.

Episode 4 – to be released next Wednesday – is on media ethics, with the Press Ombudsman Pippa Green, and Prof Glenda Daniels.  And we end the series the following Wednesday with the final episode where my guests are Thandeka Gqubule-Mbeki and Prof Anton Harber.  We take a deep dive into their defamation case against the Economic Freedom Fighters.

Hope you enjoy – and stay safe!

Webber Wentzel media law podcasts

posted in Broadcasting, Court reporting, Live streaming, Media law, Musings on Media, Open justice, Openness, Podcast on by

On Wednesday, Webber Wentzel launched the first episode in our media law podcast series, which deals with the important principle of open justice, exceptions to the principle, and broadcasting/ streaming the courts.

I hosted two fascinating guests.  The first is Advocate Andrea Johnson of the National Prosecuting Authority, who with Gerrie Nel successfully prosecuted Oscar Pistorius for murder (amongst other important prosecutions).  This was the first criminal trial that was broadcast/ streamed to the public, and forms a large part of the discussion.   The second guest is Franny Rabkin, leading legal journalist, Mail & Guardian associate editor, brilliant writer and expert analyst of legal issues.

You can listen to the podcast here or on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.  It’s just over 30 mins – so something different to do during the national lock down.

In the next few weeks, we will drop a podcast every Wednesday.  The next topics (not necessarily in order of release) include surveillance of journalists with Jane Duncan and Sam Sole; media ethics with Prof Glenda Daniels and the Press Ombudsman, Pippa Green; disinformation and defamation with William Bird; and a case study on disinformation with Thandeka Gqubule-Mbeki and Prof Anton Harber – a deep dive into their successful defamation case against the EFF (read the case here).

Hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed the recording!