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Title: Libel versus freedom of expression : maintaining the balance in the information age
Authors: Zammit Maempel, Michael
Keywords: Freedom of expression -- Malta
Freedom of expression -- Europe
Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950 November 5)
Libel and slander -- Malta
Press law -- Malta
Mass media -- Law and legislation -- Malta
Issue Date: 2001
Citation: Zammit Maempel, M. (2001). Libel versus freedom of expression: maintaining the balance in the information age (Master's dissertation).
Abstract: Maltese jurisprudence has now reached a point where freedom of expression is no longer questioned or doubted. The Courts have set a trend where this fundamental human right has come to be closely protected and cherished, through a series of judgements that have examined the obtaining provisions of the Maltese Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights from various perspectives. The European Court of Human Rights in Sh·asbourg has equally guarded this right, enunciating a number of landmark judgements respected and widely quoted the world over. Libel represents one realm where absolute and unbridled expression must necessarily face a limit. Press law represents the right of the media to publish and keep the public informed of matters that are to its interest. In this respect, the media are also performing a valuable function in a democratic society, by taking on a watchdog role: constantly ensuring that public figures, and especially people from the political scenario are kept in check by being subject to public scrutiny. Press law, however, also represents the other side of this same coin: namely the interest of the individual not to be injured or prejudiced by the media's right to report and comment. The free expression of the media must necessarily be subject to limits that aim to protect politicians, public figures, and individual members of society from abuse. Amidst this careful balance set between the traditional print and broadcast media and their right to express themselves freely, a new medium has emerged: the Internet. Although these are still early days for the Internet, this modern medium of communication has already started to challenge traditional stands on free expression doctrines. Similarly, as a medium it transcends typical models of either print or broadcast mediums. It therefore threatens to destabilise the standing body of jurisprudence on free expression and press law; and must necessarily induce a fresh outlook to be formed on free expression issues. As the rate of development of the Internet continues at breakneck speed, the need for a standard, centralised form of discipline over the Internet and the content that travels across it becomes all the more pressing.
Description: LL.D.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacLaw - 1958-2009

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