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Editors 'should be wary of legal aspect of Wikileaks revelations'

Editors 'should be wary of legal aspect of Wikileaks revelations'

Bosses in the field of the media should be wary of the potential legal implications of publishing information divulged in the Wikileaks revelations, a writer has noted.

According to Peter Preston, in an article published in the Observer newspaper recently (December 5th 2010), the current situation presents "moral mazes" for editors wondering whether or not to reveal such views as "what Mervyn King told the American ambassador about Messrs Cameron and Osborne".

Mr Preston added that although there is "a clear public interest in printing most of what is being published by Wikileaks and its partner papers", some of it is potentially "low-level ambassadorial gossip" as opposed to "high-level decision-making".

He points to the fact that "handling hundreds of thousands of stolen memos" could be seen as no different to a situation of phone hacking.

Jacqueline Young, media lawyer at Russell Jones & Walker, commented: "There is a certain irony in the response of the American administration to the Wikileaks revelations.

"The overwhelming majority of websites in the UK have American hosts, yet any efforts to remove libellous material from such websites is usually met with silence or a flat refusal.

"This is on the grounds that freedom of speech and flow of information are at the core of American beliefs and a basic tenant of American democracy. The Wikileaks backlash flies in the face of this stance."

Contact our media, libel and privacy solicitors on 0800 916 9081 or email if you would like advice on any media, libel and privacy matter

Posted by Cheryl Bennett

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