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Legal Awareness in an Era of Media Convergence

By Mrs. Manil Cooray, Deputy Director, AIBD

The IPDC- UNESCO project for 2012 will focus on journalists’ training in the fields of defamation, contempt of court, and hate speech, using cross-country experiences as an educational tool to explore possible solutions to many of the recurring problems encountered in more than one jurisdiction and the implications of putting content with the new media.

The new media landscape has brought about a myriad of changes in disseminating information as a result of convergence, merging voice, video, data and image into a single flexible network, integrating communications and computer technologies.

In this media convergent scenario, journalists need to become more aware of and understand media law and its implications to be able to work effectively.

Recent years have also seen a sharp increase for the need for awareness in media law, partly due to the obvious upsurge in the incidence of media-related litigation around the world. Countries in the Asia-Pacific region are no exception, where there have been a number of high-profile lawsuits and prosecutions filed against media defendants on such grounds as defamation, contempt of court, breach of parliamentary privilege, sedition, and breach of public morals and media ethics.

These legal actions pose serious consequences for the individual journalists and media organization concerned or to governments which lead to a chilling effect on the freedom of the media across whole societies. Therefore, there has been much attention paid of late to the relationship between the law and the media, and to the need for journalists to familiarize themselves with the legal environment in which they operate to avoid the dangers which beset their professions.

Nepal Television Corporation will host the media law training workshop from 23 to 27 April 2012 in Kathmandu, Nepal while the second workshop will be held from 23 to 27 September 2012 in Male, Maldives, hosted by the Maldives Broadcasting Commission.

The consultant for both workshops is Dr. David H. Mould, a former newspaper and TV journalist, and professor emeritus of Media Arts and Studies at Ohio University, USA. He has extensive experience as a media trainer and consultant in Central, South and Southeast Asia.



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