We live in interesting times. Once media law covered the traditional media. Now it covers social media.But how will Brexit affect us? And what happens when a member of staff posts defamatory comments from their own account?
by David Banks
BREXIT means Brexit, we're not very helpfully told.
It should, we were assured, mean a bonfire of EU red tape lighting our way to the sunlit uplands where we would be free from EU regulation foisted upon us by....wait for it...Brussels bureaucrats.
We already know that one EU regulation coming down the road will be imposed by the U.K. Government regardless of where we are with Brexit and will continue to do so even after we have cut our ties with our EU neighbours.
That is the General Data Protection Regulation that will come into force from May 2018.
On the face of it, it should not be too daunting if you are already complying with the requirements of the Data Protection Act. However, there are one or two additional requirements that really should concern any organisation handling people's personal data.
The first worry is that the GDPR creates new legal liabilities for data processors - these are the members of staff or outside contractors who collect and process data on behalf of an organisation that is a data controller (any body that collects, stores or uses people's personal data). Previously it was the data controller that faced legal liability for breach, now both can be prosecuted.
The second concern is that organisations that have to comply with this regulation must, by law, keep records to show how they are compliant. That will mean better and more thorough records, training, policies and guidelines to ensure compliance runs through the organisation.
This will just be one of the areas we will look at at the media law session I am running with comms2point0 in London on March 29.
We will also be looking at the perennial problem of libel, especially the capacity for people to publish them on social media. What is an employer's liability if a member of staff libels someone on their personal account? They may have the 'my views not those of my employer' disclaimer - but how much protection does that give.
We will also be looking at copyright, privacy, laws around children and the vulnerable as well as media ethics.
The comms2point0 media law for social media workshop takes place in London on March 29. To book your place on the course and for more information click here.
David Banks is an experienced journalist and media law trainer who has worked with media organisations and and public sector bodies.
Picture credit: National Library of Ireland / Flickr