This presentation is by Neil Midgley, media writer at the Daily Telegraph. Here's the general essence of his talk:
- it is important to work out what the law is when traditional media meets new media - newspapers and Twitter are not creatures of statute unlike TV - Twitter & newspapers are effectively just people exercising their right to free speech. As such they currently fall under personal and not state regulation. This means the law applies to individuals only, not the institutions themselves - the greatest journalistic failures in recent months have been on TV and on Twitter with BBC's Newsnight (Savile and Lord McAlpine) and the ensuing treatment of Lord McAlpine on the social network - when the law is used against people abusing Twitter it comes down hard. There are at least 6 civil and criminal laws that can be applied, leaving people (often not in the know) highly exposed. The journalists involved with Newsnight had much fewer personal consequences to contend with than members of the public following the scandal - any new Charter will apply to 'influential' publishers. Working out who that applies to on social media is highly problematic. Ten year olds who blog can be highly influential but can they really be regulated? - Twitter is a source of news stories but also a competitor because it can break stories that papers think they have an exclusive on - Twitter is an opinion poll and helps provide an idea of public opinion. As yet it is not a journalistic organisation that breaks big scoops - but this could be the future - as technology continues its march, the regulation issue will become ever more problematic. Regulation needs to keep pace and give a proportional response to those who are regulated.