Monday, 25 March 2013

What do new Press Regulatory Laws mean for Bloggers? Waseem Saddique Marketing Investigates

Are you an online blogger for a business? If so you could face high libel fines, thanks to the new press regulation deal.

Blogs, websites and even social media pages could be forced to pay heavy fines should they fail to sign up to new press regulatory laws implemented under the new Leveson deal.

WaseemSaddique comments: “New press regulation laws could change the face of online marketing, whilst the first step seems to affect blogs and websites, there are rumours that the laws could span across social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many more.”

New press regulation laws have been met with a mixed response. The victims of the recent phone hacking scandal involving the News of the World, which sparked off an entire review of the UK media sector, are strongly in favour of reducing ‘press power’, effectively disabling them from, what they perceive to be, an intrusion of their private lives.

Those opposed to press regulation argue that it takes away the fundamental freedom of ‘free speech’, which many consider to be a very dangerous threshold to cross.
The particular section of legislation likely to impact bloggers and websites can be found under clause 29 of the ‘Crime and Courts Bill’.

Waseem Saddique Marketing Services released a statement saying: “The new clause introduced to the bill states that ‘relevant bloggers or websites are defined as those that generate news material whereby an individual or group has editorial control over a publication within an editorial structure.”

Whilst bloggers would be exempt from damages for comments posted by readers, the fact remains that bloggers and website owners will now be forced to walk a very thin line in order to provide articles that are neutral and not necessarily based on opinion.

Certain publications, such as scientific journals, student publications and charity material, such as newsletters, will not be accountable to the new law. Websites will also be granted immunity on the condition that they sign up to the new regulator.

In a statement from the Chief Executive of Index Censorship, Kirsty Hughes, she said: “This is a dark day for British democracy. This will undoubtedly have a chilling effect on everyday people's web use. I fear that thousands of websites could fall under the definition of a ‘relevant publisher’ in clause 29. Bloggers could find themselves subject to exemplary damages, due to the fact that they were not part of a regulator that was not intended for them in the first place.”

In a case study carried out by Waseem Saddique Marketing Services, they uncovered one particular blogger who will not be signing up to the regulation roster. Harry Cole, a political blog writer for Guido Fawkes, said: “I won’t be joining. My servers are based in the US and should therefore make me exempt from UK press laws.”

He added: “I don't see I should join a regulator. This country has had a free press for the last 300 years, that has been irreverent and rude as my website is and holding public officials to account. We as a matter of principle will be opposing any regulator especially one set up and accountable to politicians we write about every day.”

Waseem Saddique concludes: “Undoubtedly, this could be the first step towards total regulation across a number of platforms. This will ultimately change the face of online marketing, website trends, social media trends and much more. This could be a tactic that backfires severely.”

Founded in 2007, Waseem Saddique Marketing Services has consistently provided small to medium enterprises, as well as larger corporate firms, with a range of digital marketing & online solutions.