Conference to focus on internet law

 Hosting the conference 'The Changing face of Media Law' at UCC are director Elaine O'Flynn and James Reidy. Picture: Des Barry

The virgin territory of defamation law on the internet and the interpretation of privacy rights are set to be discussed at a conference in Cork next week.

The University College Cork law conference will take place on Tuesday, Nov 12, and seek to tease out the ongoing problems between the existing laws and the quickly changing media landscape.

The conference will be chaired by Mr Justice Bryan McMahon and will include host speakers such as Dr Eoin O’Dell, the Trinity College expert on freedom of expression; Professor John Horgan, the Press Ombudsman; John Maher, barrister and specialist in defamation, and Andrea Martin, media lawyer.

The topic has been brought into sharp focus by fresh precedents at home and internationally.

Recently the European Court of Human Rights raised the bar for internet publishers after it agreed that an Estonian newspaper was liable for defamatory comments a reader posted on its website.

This followed the separate high-profile defamation case of Sally Bercow and Lord McAlpine in England, in which the wife of the House of Commons speaker wrongly insinuated the Tory peer was a paedophile on Twitter and was sued. In Ireland there was the more limited case of a settlement made between a blogger and Declan Ganley for an incorrect tweet.

Conference organisers, the UCC Law Society, said the event will be an opportunity for professionals and academics to consider ways to move forward.


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