National newspapers and broadcasters set to oppose changes to contempt law

Each of the major national newspaper groups are members of the MLA

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.

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Gillian West

Gillian West is The Drum’s social media manager and works to ensure The Drum’s content reaches followers across platforms including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram in an engaging, relevant and timely manner. Based in Glasgow, she has been actively involved in building The Drum’s Creative Works brand for over three years now and has interviewed major creative figures including Rankin, Peter Souter, Rosie Arnold, Bob Greenberg and Vicki Maguire. During her time at The Drum she has attended events such as Cannes Lions, the Edinburgh International TV Festival, Art Director’s Club Europe, D&AD and more.

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