Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The judge is not helping

116 Responses

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    Anyway, Slater is appealing the decision and I don’t need to defend his work in this instance to hope he succeeds.

    Just this.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I thought the process for the Law Commission was that they produced a report, which was then adjusted to fit the party in power's ideology, turned into legislation, voted on by Parliament and then, if passed, became law.

    How can their recommendations be used in deciding a court case without this process - surely that short-circuits parliament?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Beagle,

    It seems wrong that Slater can't get the same protection that journalists get when he's acting as a journalist.

    It seems especially unfair that any "journalist" republishing wire pieces and industry PR in a newspaper will have those same protections, purely because of their publisher.

    New Zealand • Since Nov 2007 • 48 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I don't think Slater is acting as a journalist. I mean, I think it is very clear that Slater has no sense of professional ethics, or any real adherence to standards of behaviour other than his own idiosyncratic (and often repugnant) principles.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    But I was threatened with such action this year. I was aware at the time that a discovery order was a possibility if it went ahead – and also confident that discovery would not reveal anything harmful to my defence.

    Was it concerning the doco "For the Public Good"?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Was it concerning the doco “For the Public Good”?

    Yes. Sir Roger Douglas was extremely unhappy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • alobar, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    And he doesn't even like journalists , why would he want to be one?
    I wonder were the personal emails he released relevant ?

    auckland • Since Apr 2010 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to alobar,

    And he doesn’t even like journalists , why would he want to be one?

    Maybe he's more a public relations type?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Steven Price on Firstline this morning:

    Appearing on Firstline this morning, media lawyer Steven Price said the judge's reasoning was not clear.

    "He does cite an old Law Commission issues paper that says bloggers are highly partisan and offensive and abusive, and that they're really not accountable to anyone. What he doesn't cite though is another part of the Law Commission's report later on where they say that bloggers can provide a rich alternative source of information and commentary," says Mr Price.

    "I'm not quite sure how hard the judge has thought this through."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • alobar, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Maybe he’s more a public relations type?

    :) but more biased

    auckland • Since Apr 2010 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Warren Clark,

    That is twice in one year I find myself cheering Mr Oil.

    He's kinda the Fox news of the NZ blogosphere, distasteful but needed.

    In the Lower Hutt. • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Little Myy,

    This is exactly the problem we have, as you state “the reality of self-publishing is that the same individual or blog might be news media one day and just an arsehole the next.” I guess we need need definition for blogs and bloggers?

    Auckland • Since Jun 2012 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to alobar,

    And he doesn't even like journalists , why would he want to be one?

    I think he thinks that journalists are fine. The concern is with churnalists, and repeaters, people who give journalists a bad name :-)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    “the reality of self-publishing is that the same individual or blog might be news media one day and just an arsehole the next.”

    Maybe make the test of journalism apply to the article in question, not to the writer or publication's body of work?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Maybe make the test of journalism apply to the article in question, not to the writer or publication's body of work?

    Yes, I think that would be a more productive path to take.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Maybe he’s more a public relations type?

    That's an example of where it might be extremely relevant to discover Whale's sources. He's admitted to taking PR money to run certain lines on his blog, which would seem to undermine his claims to media protections.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But suppose you're a source. You talk to (say) WhaleOil thinking he's a journalist and tell him some things. Turns out (hypothetically) he's actually a paid PR operative on this one, running knowingly defamatory lines for cash. He uses your information to stitch together an attack. How do you tell during the process whether WhaleOil's going to meet the standard for journalism this time round, given it might not be until the end of the process that he himself decides?

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Whatever you think of Cameron Slater

    Nevertheless, we can allow ourselves just a pinch of of schadenfraude...?

    There is an interesting discussion about this going on over at the Kiwi Journalist blog..

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2558 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    And as I said to Radio New Zealand’s reporter, the reality of self-publishing is that the same individual or blog might be news media one day and just an arsehole the next.

    I get the point your making, and haven't read the LC report or the judgment, however I can't help but wonder if a pattern of consistency ought to be part of the test for what is 'media'? By this I mean consistently being a partisan hack with the odd news story mightn't meet the test and therefore not afford the protections?

    Either way, it does seem likely that an appeal will elicit a sharper judgment since 'all blogs are not media' is clearly false and stuck in the early '90s.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster,

    Another Judith Collins fail?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve,

    The Evidence act basically says an informant is entitled to protection (although not absolute). It then defines informant as a person who provides information to a journalist for inclusion within a news medium.

    I'd think, therefore, that the informant's opinion and belief also should be considered. Presumably the person who provided the information was under the impression that Slater could provide the protection expected from a journalist.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Paul Williams,

    By this I mean consistently being a partisan hack with the odd news story mightn't meet the test and therefore not afford the protections?

    Toss in being convicted for contempt after breaching a suppression order, too, which is something that "real" media treats as a third-rail issue. Slater has form for behaving in ways that actual, proper journalists don't. It's ironic that he's now begging for protection from the same courts for which he shows such disregard.

    It's really hard to see this is a decision which affects PAS or Keith, to be honest. Keith isn't just a blogger, for one, and PAS isn't anywhere near as vile and partisan as WO. Slater goes out of his way to engage in personal attacks and behave in a way that is far removed from cognisant of anything that might be called professional ethics. If you want to be called a "news medium" and a "journalist", fucking behave like one.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    There is an interesting discussion about this going on over at the Kiwi Journalist blog..

    Can you link it?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Yes, there seems to be a basic reasonableness test going on here. It would be good if there were clearer law about it, but in the absence of that, I guess a judge has to decide if Slater walks and quacks like a journalist. If he does, it's an extremely low bar, rendering the s68 of the Evidence Act almost pointless. It might as well read "You're allowed to defame people on the internet, period".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY, in reply to BenWilson,

    If he does, it's an extremely low bar, rendering the s68 of the Evidence Act almost pointless. It might as well read "You're allowed to defame people on the internet, period".

    Although journalists and their publications are not infrequently sued for defamation. Even if the court on appeal decides that Slater is a journalist, he may still end up losing the defamation action.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

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