Legitimate news is often taken down by algorithms that have mistaken it for misinformation or abuse

Justice secretary calls for a new British Bill of Rights 

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has announced a three-month consultation period on a new British Bill of Rights. The bill could affect both freedom of expression rights and those of privacy.

The proposed reforms, said Raab would “provide more general guidance on how to balance the right to freedom of expression with competing rights rather than leaving this to the courts.” The bill would also make specific provisions to ensure the protection of journalists’ sources.

The proposed change could also make it harder for celebrities to gain injunctions as individuals would have to meet a higher threshold when claiming their right to privacy had been breached.

The consultation to reform the bill can be accessed at:

https://consult.justice.gov.uk/human-rights/human-rights-act-reform/supporting_documents/humanrightsreformconsultation.pdf

The Society of Editors will be compiling responses and invites all members to send their thoughts to office@societyofeditors.org.

Online Harms Bill: Joint Committee calls for stronger protection for news publisher content 

The joint committee’s report said journalistic content should not be removed from social media sites unless it is illegal or in breach of a court order.

MPs and peers called for an “automatic exemption” for recognised news publishers on social media to ensure the Online Harms Bill upholds freedom of expression. They also argued that journalism and reporting within the public interest was crucial to democracy.

In the report, concerns were raised that legitimate news is often taken down by algorithms that have mistaken it for misinformation or abuse. As news content is already regulated, the report argues that it should be exempt from tech companies’ further moderation.

Dawn Alford, Executive Director of the Society of Editors urged the Government to accept the proposals of the committee.

She said: “The recommendations to enhance the exemptions for news publishers are welcomed and highlight the importance of protecting trusted journalistic content.

The Society of Editors looks forward to working with the Government, alongside other industry bodies, in 2022 to ensure news content remains protected within the bill.

Scotland on Sunday launches Christmas book campaign

Scotland on Sunday has launched a Christmas campaign to gift families who are reliant on foodbanks with books for Christmas. which aims to gift books to families who are dependant on foodbanks. The campaign is being run with the Scottish Book Trust and the backing of literary giants Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler and Macmillan Children’s Books.

Scottish crime writer Val McDermid has supported the campaign, and gave an interview with the Scotland on Sunday emphasising the importance of all children having access to books.

McDermid said: ‘It’s not news that reading books improves children’s life chances.’

She added that gifting children books, ‘is the first step on the road to breaking the cycle of deprivation and poverty.’

To donate to the campaign, visit https://www.scottishbooktrust.com

Newsworks to support British Library’s press exhibition

Newsworks has announced it will be partnering with the British Library’s headline ‘Breaking the News’ exhibition. It will run for four months next year from April 22- August 21.

‘Breaking the News’ will explore five centuries of British news through newspapers, radio, broadcasts, the internet, artifacts and stories. It will examine if news can ever truly be objective, how our beliefs influence the news we consume, and who decides which stories are suppressed or amplified.

Newsworks CEO Jo Allan said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the British Library on their ‘Breaking the News’ exhibition, celebrating 500 years of news. It not only showcases the rich history of news and its importance to society, but also looks at how news is evolving, the importance of free speech and journalism’s growing significance in the digital age.”

 

British Press Awards winners revealed

Journalism was celebrated last week at the British Press Awards as the winners were announced.

The Journalist of the Year was Awarded to Robert Moore for his reporting for ITV News from inside the US Capitol during the riots last January.

The Guardian was named News Provider of the Year, and won three other awards for Technology Journalism, Comment Journalism and Arts and Entertainment.

The Daily Mail won Campaign of the Year for their Betrayal of the Brave campaign. The FT was awarded in the political and investigation categories for their work on David Cameron’s relationship with Greensill whilst The Sunday Times took the anti-corruption category for their work on the scandal.

The Society of Editors’ Executive Director, Dawn Alford, presented the award for Scoop of the Year to the Sun for its world exclusive revealing former Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s affair with aide Gina Coladangelo while Covid-19 restrictions were in place.

Sun Political Editor Harry Cole said: “The tabloids deliver the scoops they need to stay consistently one step ahead of the competition”. He added: “We pride ourselves on our reputation as protectors of free speech and democracy.”

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