Following news of the new shape of UK press regulation, confusion abounds on whether this will now in fact cover bloggers. Andrew Terry, media expert at Eversheds, comments: “Understandable concerns are being voiced that the new regulatory scheme is drafted so broadly that it will cover bloggers. Leaving aside who might actually fall within this term, there is nothing within the Royal Charter on this point because the detail of how the regulator will operate has not yet been agreed.
“Bloggers are however referred to in the draft Crime and Courts Bill. This sets out the framework for exemplary damages, which it is proposed will apply to those not part of the regulatory scheme. But, there are numerous exceptions to these provisions which seem intended to take the typical solo blogger out of reach of this regime. The detail is still to be agreed, and so nothing is final on this front. However, even if such a blogger were captured, any fine relating to turnover (as proposed) would be almost meaningless.
“Wherever this ends up, a blogger will remain liable for defamatory comments or breaches of privacy. It is crucial that these points are clarified, but sensible discussions risk being drowned out by frenzy.”