Media Law 1#

My first Law lecture, this should be interesting. After some very scrappy note taking from my lecture I can actually say I've learnt a lot. I should now call myself a Journalist on a course. The rule is I must never lie, unless I fancy a being sued thousands in a civil court.
My first lecture of Law justifies how essential it is to learn. Anyone can call themselves a journalist, but it is essential to know what we write is lawful and not libellous. The Press in the UK are referred to the 4th estate, keeping the courts in line, policing the police and so on.

Civil Law- These are the cases that are about disputes between individuals or organisations, usually divorces, custody, compensation. To a Journalist these cases are the least interesting. However the tabloids frenzy for celebrity divorces etc.

Criminal Law- Much more interesting! These are those who have offended against society, for example murder, burglary and violence. A serious crime that carries a sentence of more than 5 years is an Indictable offence. Once a person is arrested by police they will be brought before a Magistrate court within 24 hours. From here the big cases will be sent to Crown court. The biggest in the UK is the Old Bailey, and if it is too busy there cases will be sent to Winchesters crown court. Nearly all cases begin in Magistrates court and most of them ending there too.

As the lecture begun with stories from The Sun, it seems you can write a story on literally anything if arguably if it is of ‘public interest’. The most creative in the Sun was ‘The girl who eats bricks.’ Of course this journalist has used the word bricks as the metaphor, and more likely the scientific term would be brick dust. In this circumstance the journalist is able to use the play on words.
However calling someone a murderer is not to be taken likely. So was Hitler a murderer? Surely he is I thought to myself. But no, Hitler was not found guilty for murder.
When writing about a criminal you must get the offense correct.

Camera's in court? I don't think so.
Our lecturer Chris hinted to us how usuful shorthand will be, this led me to highlight a question in the lecture. Will cameras in court be useful? It is totally illigal in the UK to record anything said in court, this may be changing. But there are too many negitives, for example most people in society will literally do anything to be on TV, and although the aspect of comminiting a crime may seem ridiculous, most criminals will find the challenge of getting into crown court for the worst crimes thrilling. This certainly wouldn't be a postive move.

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