Trial rulings throw up a media freedom paradox

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Trial rulings throw up a media freedom paradox by Dario Milo and Stuart Scott

                  by Dario Milo and Stuart Scott published in Sunday Times 6 July 2014

 

 

Is there room for a ‘right to be forgotten’ in South Africa?

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By Dario Milo and Avani Singh

The recent European Court of Justice ruling (available here) that effectively granted a Spanish national ‘a right to be forgotten’ has caused much stir as we wait to see precisely what implications this decision will have.  As expected, Google has reportedly received a flood of requests from people seeking to have their information removed from the Google search engine, including politicians, public figures and persons with criminal records.  Indeed, in response to the European Court of Justice’s ruling, Google has already taken steps to operationalise this decision, having now released an online form (available here) for users to submit requests and announced that it is forming a committee to advise on how best to implement the decision.

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Electoral Court says “no comment”: DA must retract SMS saying Zuma ‘stole’

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By Dario Milo and Ben Winks

On the very eve of democratic South Africa’s fifth general election, the Electoral Court delivered a landmark judgment on the rules of electoral engagement, setting a standard for the way political parties express themselves in future elections. The background to this decision, available here, is set out below. Continue reading

Was the High Court right to find that the DA’s SMS saying Zuma ‘stole’ was fair comment?

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By Dario Milo and Ben Winks

Last Friday, 4 April 2014, the Johannesburg High Court ruled that it was ‘fair comment’ for the Democratic Alliance (DA) to label President Zuma a thief in a bulk SMS sent to over 1.5 million recipients last month. The judgment raises important questions about the boundaries of free speech in a democratic society. Continue reading

Broadcasting the Oscar Pistorius criminal trial

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In the past weeks, hundreds of thousands of people around the world have been able to hear and see on television, radio and the Internet the evidence being led in the criminal trial of Oscar Pistorius. Pistorius stands accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s morning last year. He also faces three charges of offences under the Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000 for allegedly discharging a firearm in a public place (relating to the incidents at Tasha’s and the sunroof shooting) and the alleged possession of ammunition that he was, so the state argues, not properly licensed to possess. The case kicks off again next week Monday for the defence to lead its evidence (with Oscar widely expected to give evidence), after being postponed due to the illness of one of the assessors. Continue reading