The UK media enjoy freedoms which are the envy of journalists in oppressed societies. Although Great Britain has a “free press” in comparison to the authoritarian censorship, it also has more growing restrictions and laws affecting journalism than in some other democratic countries. So, it is the journalist’s job to save the freedom of expression and free media by reporting and ensuring that people are properly informed about what is being done in their name.
People of the media industry need to know where the law comes from, what it says, what the law allows them to do. Only by knowing what may or may not be done, journalists, reporters, broadcasters and those who work in media can ensure that some foolish error does not curtail their work. In this particular case, “McNae's Essential Law for Journalists” is the first college essay help for journalism students, a Bible that every single journalist uses to understand what the law is all about, what they can and can’t report.
On many occasions, this book has been used to challenge the courts and the decisions that they have made. It is an incredibly useful wrap-up of all the laws you need to know in order to be an efficient journalist.
McNae's Essential Law for Journalists: Why Do You Need to Read It?
Now, in the 21st century, we see a return to the old days of a biased and unreliable press. Consider the evidence. According to a 2018 poll, trust in the media hit an all-time low with only 32% of British had confidence in the media, among younger people only 26% trusted the press. A new generation of journalism students is going to change the current situation.
In the times of political and economic turmoil as well as international unrest, good journalism has never been more important. Having knowledge of media law and being confident that you can report accurately and fairly is a crucial part of journalism. However, the law of the 21st century is really complex. There is a danger of what the professionals call “a chilling effect”. In other words, editors and reporters stop becoming so worried about what might happen if they publish something. Thus, the idea of McNae's Essential Law for Journalists is to empower journalists to know what they can actually publish.
Practical Examples of Usage “McNae's Essential Law for Journalists”
Let us imagine, you are covering a quite high-profile bank robbery trial, and the prosecutor applied for an anonymity order. If you want to make sure the court was imposing a valid anonymity order, you always can open “McNae's Essential Law for Journalists” to look at the relevant law in order to challenge it in court.
Let us take another example – you are doing a sports report. A football player was sent off a red card for violent conduct, and you realize that it was defamation. Strange as it sounds, your first job as a journalist is to write his name right. Because if you named another football player in the team, then that would be a misidentification which is a very common source of libel actions.
This book gives you the best possible grounding in media law and does a good job of broader introduction to the basics of journalism. “McNae's Essential Law for Journalists” goes through the main points that you would have to know inside out if you are examined by an external body such as the National Council for the training of journalists or to meet the standards that the Broadcast Journalism Training Council requires. So, let us take a closer look at this Bible for journalism students.
“McNae's Essential Law for Journalists” Inside Out
There are actually relatively few very important points that as working or practicing journalist you do need to know inside out. To be precise, there are three big areas: one is defamation, two is the danger of contempt of court, and the third big area is privacy and confidentiality. There is also a ragbag of smaller laws that may impinge the confidence of a journalist – copyright, official secrets act, and all the regulatory codes of conduct you have to know. All of this material you can easily find in “McNae's Essential Law for Journalists”.
“Mcnae's Essential Law for Journalists” contains a range of features to help a student find the information really quickly. Glossary terms are highlighted in the text and defined at the back of the book. Cross-references help you to find related information. Case studies appear throughout the text to provide content and examples of how the law has been applied. Chapter summaries introduce each chapter and outline the content as well as features a recap of essential point ideas for revision as an at-a-glance reminder.
The editors of “Mcnae's Essential Law for Journalists” give you a chance to be at the center of the journalistic world by introducing the “late news” section. For example, from now on, “journalists can tweet, email or text reports from courts without permission” or “Freedom of Information acts covers three more bodies”. The authors provide the material in a simple manner. When they are talking about the divisions of law (criminal and civil), they use quite easy terms and words. For instance, while criminal law deals with offenses which harm the whole community, civil law concerns disputes between individuals and organizations.
In the first chapter, they explain how the UK’s laws are made and how the European Conventions on Human Rights helps safeguard freedom of expression. It also outlines the distinction between criminal and civil law, between solicitors and barristers.
Journalists must know the different categories of crime to understand when reporting restrictions affect what can be published in court stories. Moreover, they need to know the legal definitions of some of the crimes to avoid libel problems when referring to offenses. So, in the chapter “Crime: media coverage prior to any court case” they explain how police investigations are driven by the standard of proof needed to convict someone on crime.
So, “Mcnae's Essential Law for Journalists” is a perfect guideline to the world of journalism, media laws, and different ethical concerns which every respectful journalist should be aware of.