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Journalistic Exemptions Proposed for the Data Protection Bill

Journalists are among various professionals who have been highlighted to be shielded by new legislation intended to update data protection rules, the UK government has said.

Author: News Desk

Posted on: 15 September 2017 07:22

Journalistic Exemptions Proposed for the Data Protection Bill

The NMA has long stressed the necessity for effective UK implementation of the exemptions that the industry's lobbying secured in the GDPR.

As reported by the News Media Association: The government asserts that the Data Protection Bill will safeguard the processing of personal data by journalists “for freedom of expression and to expose wrongdoing.” This includes being able to preserve the anonymity of their sources or access personal data without consent, as long as it is in the public interest. The NMA will meet with the DCMS today (14 September) to discuss the Bill.

The NMA has long stressed the necessity for effective UK implementation of the exemptions that the industry's lobbying secured in the GDPR.

Santha Rasaiah, NMA Legal, Policy and Regulatory Affairs director said: “Comprehensive and robust exemptions as mandated by the GDPR are absolutely vital to a free press- including day to day news operation. The NMA is meeting the DCMS to examine the all-important detail of the Bill's provisions. Proper safeguards are essential for journalism and news archives across its civil and criminal provisions and regulatory powers.”

The Bill, which will come into force next May, will transfer the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation into UK law. The legislation will also be maintained after Britain exits the European Union.

The Media Lawyers Association has called on the government to clarify and extend protections for journalists under the new legislation, so that they can continue to collect and store information on individuals if it is in the public interest, the Financial Times reported. The proposed legislation will also be examined to make sure it does not give failed defamation claimants an alternative route to getting articles or programmes changed or deleted, potentially several years after publication.

Commenting on the proposed exemptions, Nicola Cain, legal director, Reynolds Porter Chamberlain said: “Media organisations will hope the government will ensure the [bill] doesn’t inhibit the fast-paced nature of the breaking news environment. We don’t want to see the Information Commissioner being turned into the de facto state regulator of the media.”

Links / further reading: News Media Association

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