1 comment on “‘Upskirting’ – anonymity for complainants”

‘Upskirting’ – anonymity for complainants

AFTER a long campaign, the offence of ‘upskirting’ finally received the Royal Assent and became law on February 12.

It will come into effect two months from that date, so from April 12 it will be possible for people to be charged and prosecuted for the offence under The Voyeurism Offences Act 2019. Someone committing this offence can face up to two years in prison.

This change in the law came as a result of  a campaign by Gina Martin, who was a victim of this when she was at a festival in 2017.

The offence includes taking or recording an image for sexual gratification or to cause humiliation, alarm or distress – so this covers those who capture such imagery ‘for a laugh.’ The law does not specify a male or female victim, and can be committed against any ‘person.’

This is a sexual offence and it is an extension to the offence of voyeurism as set out in Section 67 of The Sexual Offences Act 2003.

This means that complainants in this offence have anonymity under Section 1 of the Sexual Offences Amendment Act 1992.

Screen Shot 2019-02-19 at 11.37.40.png

Note that the anonymity applies as soon as ‘an allegation has been made’. Very often that will be to the police, but the law does jot actually specify that it has to be to a police officer. So a complainant can be anonymous as soon as they report the matter to a friend, doctor, teacher – in effect any third party.

The law says that ‘no matter’ should be included in any publication that would identify them as a victim of this offence. Any publication would include social media.

Anyone reporting this offence needs to take care. Complainants have automatic anonymity as soon as they report the offence to anyone.

Anonymity is not simply about keeping a person’s name, address, or picture out of a report. It requires you to remove any detail that might allow someone who knows them to identify them from what you publish.

Complainants can waive their anonymity, such a waiver should be obtained in writing and without any duress.

Little addendum to the above. It would now seem that the upskirt photo, as practised by a certain section of celebrity photographer, often when the subject is exiting or entering a limo, and sometimes referred to as a ‘wardrobe malfunction’, will be illegal from April 12.

0 comments on “On departing as an External Examiner”

On departing as an External Examiner

For the past four years I have served as an external examiner at Cardiff University’s Journalism School. I have looked after the law and public admin parts of the MA and postgrad diploma there.

The postgrad diploma is the course I started at Cardiff 27 years ago, which launched me into a career in journalism, after a law degree failed to convince me that the law was for me (though what goes around comes around and the law dragged me back in the end)

It was a magical year for me, I met some fellow students who would go on to be brilliant journalists, and discovered that I might just scratch a living by writing myself. Cardiff remains a beacon of great journalism training.

For the last exam board I added a few departing comments, and for what they are worth, here they are.

“This is my last year as external examiner for my old journalism school and it has been a huge pleasure coming back and seeing that the place, though in a different building, remains the excellent school it was when I attended back in 1987-88.

As ever, journalism looks like it is facing a crisis, assailed by plunging print circulations, combined with the mystery of how anyone can profit from digital.

Add to that that the phone-hacking scandal, the Leveson Inquiry and the trials which we have seen concluded only last week and an outsider would be forgiven for wondering why anyone would want to enter an industry so clearly doomed.

And yet, I am sure, as in my day, places on the Cardiff course remain at a premium. I still meet alumni from years before mine and after, and I am invariably impressed with their achievements after they left Cardiff.

Despite its current troubles, great journalism will continue to thrive, on many platforms, wherever people are interested in stories – so that means everywhere. I have no doubt that at the forefront of that will be the journalism produced by Cardiff graduates.

Thank you for having me as an external. My best wishes to the staff there and all your students for the future.”

0 comments on “Media law refresher/intro days in London and Manchester”

Media law refresher/intro days in London and Manchester

Law Refresher/Intro to Media Law

Tuesday June 18 and Tuesday July 16, The Space Centre, Judd Street, King’s Cross WC1H 9NT, 10am-4pm, Manchester, Tuesday, July 9, venue TBC, 10am -4pm

A one-day course covering the basics of media law that can affect anyone publishing in the UK either in print or online. It includes areas such as libel, contempt, reporting the courts, sexual offences, children, privacy&confidentiality, copyright and ethics in light of the Leveson report and recent decisions made by Parliament and the newspaper industry.

If you would like more information, or want to book a place on any of the courses, email me at davidbanksmedialaw@gmail.com