2 Dec 2013

Blogger protecting his source could have good case - lawyer

10:06 am on 2 December 2013

An expert in media law says the man behind the Whale Oil blog could have a good case to put to the Court of Appeal as he attempts to defend his right to protect his sources.

Cameron Slater has been ordered by a district court judge to reveal the person who supplied him information critical of an Auckland businessman who is suing Mr Slater for defamation.

Judge Charles Blackie has ruled the Evidence Act does not apply to him because a blog is not a news medium under the definition of the Act.

It's on these grounds that Mr Slater plans to appeal.

Media lawyer Steven Price says he appears to have a good case because the act defines a news medium as one that disseminates news, which he says Whale Oil does.

And he said, a recent Law Commission report talks about bloggers being important to free speech.

Meanwhile political scientist and blogger Bryce Edwards says the decision shows a lack of insight and understanding of digital media.

He says Judge Blackie has failed to acknowledge that just because Mr Slater is not a journalist, does not mean he's not part of the news media.