National newspapers and broadcasters are to come together to warn against changes to contempt laws which could give courts new powers surrounding potentially prejudicial material.
The Law Commission’s consultation paper on reforming contempt of court laws has worried the media industry with the Media Lawyers Association (MLA) expected to submit an official response regarding the proposals that could alter criminal reporting in the digital age.
If the proposals set out in the consultation by the Law Commission are approved crown court judges could order the removal of archive stories from websites which are seen to contain prejudicial information, even if they were published years ago.
It would also leave newspapers open to prosecution for contempt of court over material on their websites that was published long before a defendant was arrested or charged.
News International, Associated Newspapers, Guardian News & Media, the BBC, ITV and BskyB are all members of the MLA which represents newspapers and broadcasters. It is reported that some media groups may decide to make separate submissions to the consultation before its deadline on Thursday 28 February.