Online publications not sure how British regulatory scheme will affect them

The Guardian | politics.co.uk | The New York Times
Bloggers and online publishers aren’t clear on how a proposed press-regulation scheme in Great Britain will affect them, Lisa O’Carroll reports. The proposed law — which could lead to high libel fines for bloggers — defines “a website containing news-related material (whether or not related to a newspaper or magazine)” as a “relevant publisher” subject to regulation and orders of damages.

Cabinet member Maria Miller told Parliament “the new rules were designed to protect ‘small-scale bloggers,’” O’Carroll writes.

[I]t is hard to envisage a workable definition of a news site, whether it be by staff numbers, content or location of servers,” Ian Dunt writes in politics.co.uk. He also reports that several publishers are considering boycotting the scheme.

Publishers were excluded from negotiations over the proposal, The New York Times reports, though a Hugh Grant-funded group that advocates for privacy did have a seat at the table. The proposed law is a response to a report last November that followed months of inquiry about purported abuses by the U.K.’s press, including phone-hacking.

Previously: What you need to know about the just-published Leveson report on phone hacking, press regulation

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