New book on SA media law soon

2012-03-30 12:53
Johannesburg - A new book detailing key aspects of media law will be published next year, law firm Webber Wentzel said on Friday.

"This is a historic day. We have been planning to write a book on media law for years now," attorney Pamela Stein said at a seminar in Johannesburg.

Stein and media law expert Dario Milo were commissioned by local non-governmental organisation Section 16 to write the Practical Guide to Media Law.

The book is aimed at helping journalists navigate legal concepts such as freedom of expression, defamation, access to information, and hate speech.

Section 16, along with Milo and Stein, are scheduled to host a series of seminars throughout 2012 on the contents of the book.

The NGO, formed in 2011, takes its name from section 16 of the Constitution, which deals with freedom of expression. Milo said the first chapter focused on the nuances of that section.

"This directly impacts the freedom of the media. In fact journalists should be chanting it as a mantra when they walk around the newsroom."

He said the role of the media, and its freedom, was recognised in different court decisions, but most judgments noted the media did not carry "special rights".

Milo argued the book would explain why the media should have specific rights, including the right to keep sources confidential.

"We say when you protect rights to a source, you are protecting citizens' rights to access information," he said.
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