Scoop has helpfully gathered up all the relevant court documents.
And nor do I think a plaintiff should be able to force a journalist to disclose a source just by alleging that happened.
Given that Slater has admitted the practice, it's not irrelevant. If Slater was simply acting as a paid proxy for Blomfield's former business partner, it would certainly undermine his claims to news media status.
Another way to think about this isn’t to think of the protection as being for the news outlet, but for their source. And I don’t think that if you call up Slater and say “here’s some slanderous stuff I can’t say, but you do it and I’ll make it worth your while” (which is definitely a thing that people seriously claim Slater to do, and which would be outrageously scandalous if the NBR or the DomPost did) you should be protected by media shield law.
Slater admitted on Media3 that he has demanded money to run certain lines in his blog. It's not in doubt that this has happened -- and, indeed, I asked the question of him after a source showed me evidence of Slater making such a demand. It would have been interesting to see what a proper defamation lawyer would have made of that, because it's not out of the question that has happened in this case.
Indeed, it would have been interesting to see what happened if either side here had able, specialist representation. I presume Jordan Williams was representing Slater on behalf of Franks Ogilvie, and my communications this year from Franks Ogilvie certainly indicated an unusual approach to this area of law. Elements of those communications were, in my opinion, quite bizarre.
Lyn Prentice at The Standard writes about the issue and makes some interesting points, but seems to really miss the point overall:
Now I can sympathize with Russell Brown with his call The judge is not helping, because as he points out he is one of the relatively untainted. We are much the same we have had two defamation threats this year. Both disappeared when I explained how little they knew about defamation law. However I have little sympathy with the cause he is dithering on supporting.
The judge quoted the questions about blogs from the Law Commission report in his decision. He was right. They are pretty chaotic some of the time. But do they need or should they get journalistic protection. Hell no….
He's entitled not to regard his own blog as journalistic, but he doesn't get to pronounce on everyone else's work on the basis of its technical means of delivery. And he clearly hasn't read the Law Commission report. As Steven Price and I have pointed out, the Law Comm's observations about about how blogs can be are hardly the whole of its view. It quite clearly holds that blogs can and do play a role akin to that of traditional news media. That's why it proposed that blogs and their publishers could volunteer to come under the same jurisdiction as other news media.
I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be "relatively untainted" by, but I am sure I'm not "dithering". Slater's an ass, but I'm concerned by the implications of a poorly-thought-though decision by a judge.
Yes, a metric like that is too much of a blunt object. I’d think that membership to a professional body that can revoke your license to be protected by them would work better. You’d still be allowed to blog outside of it, but you just wouldn’t be protected by the journalist laws, and would be treated like any other private citizen with respect to defamation.
This was the promise of the regulator proposed by the Law Commission -- at the very least, it would require compliance with a set of standards. Even if its only power was to require media organisations to publish its findings -- which is what the Press Council can do -- that would be useful.
I don't think it's desirable that membership would actually define rights in law, but it would clearly make it more straightforward to claim news media status.
Which seems to be all that’s going to happen to Slater.
True. His fate would be to simply be treated like any other arsehole.
But it's not his fate in particular that concerns me in this.
Don't forget that WIP data is based on landline survey and therefore masks the divide:
And that would have been true until this year, but:
This 2013 survey has a different sample structure than previous years in order to include New Zealanders without a landline. The questionnaire has also undergone substantial updating to keep pace with changing digital technologies. For these reasons, the present report focuses solely on the findings for 2013, and longitudinal analyses will be presented in a subsequent report next year.
Ultimately, though it might be in all our interests that he does appeal, even allowing for the fact that his is an hypocritical argument, so that we get a better judgment.
These are the same bright sparks that recently reported that a certain blog was visited every month by 760,000 people? It doesn't show a great understanding of web-site statistics, but maybe reporting on media ownership is less challenging for them.
Whale Oil is New Zealand's most popular blog.
Oh god. That's shocking. I confess, I saw that in the report, but my brain read what it should have said: which is that it's actually the number for visits, rather than unique visitors. (And even that's probably bullshit, as most web stats are.)
And if that’s what he was, I would perhaps have some sympathy with his claims.
It's more the judge's reasoning I'm alarmed about. If he'd used a better argument to uphold the disclosure order I wouldn't have much to say.
Damn, I forgot to note that next year the WIP team will finally be trying to pull together some insight around disability and internet use. That will be interesting.