Thursday 22 March 2018

Libel laws, 'trolls' targeted in report

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

THE European Union should have input into state libel laws, while countries should retain online data to identify internet 'trolls', according to an EU report published yesterday.

The report of the High Level Working Group on Media Freedom and Pluralism makes a number of recommendations to what it says will improve the media landscape across the continent.

The group, which was set up in 2011, was tasked with drawing up a report for the European Commission with recommendations for "the respect, protection, support and promotion of pluralism and freedom of the media in Europe".

Among its proposals, the group calls for "minimum harmonisation rules" on libel laws and data protection issues.

The group says it would help improve the functioning of the single market, as differences in the law between countries can "distort" cross-border media activities, the authors say.

The group calls for compulsory damages after court cases to include "an apology and retraction of accusations printed with equal positioning and size of the original defamation, or presented in the same time slot in the case of radio or TV programmes".

The subjects of apologies should also be given a compulsory right to reply.

A state should ensure it has in place measures to identify people who "harm" others online, even if the state has to collect user data.

Irish Independent

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