Data Protection for Journalists and Writers

Most journalism is information about people. A good amount of writing is also about people. About people’s triumphs and failures; their follies and greatness; their failings as well as their endurance and fortitude. Journalists and writers have a sharp sense of the boundaries of personal information they are not to cross. Defamation and other long-established laws are embedded on the desks of professional writers as red lights of warning. Added to these are new laws that have been created out of global concerns over the misuse of personal information. Information privacy is the general name given to these laws. In Malaysia, the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA) has created a new regime of laws that has important bearing on the craft of the professional writer and how they conduct research. Interestingly however, journalists and writers can claim exemption from these new laws if they can show the court that they were serving a public interest in the freedom of speech.

The one-day seminar will cover the following areas: -

  • Privacy and Information Privacy
  • The boundaries of the law before the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA)
  • The Application and scope of the PDPA
  • Data Protection Principles
  • Rights of Individuals over their personal information
  • The Journalistic, Literary and Artistic Exemption under the PDPA
  • The balancing of privacy interests with the freedom of expression
  • Data User Forums and Self-Regulation

At the end of the seminar, participants will: -

  • Have a good understanding of the law on information privacy;
  • A knowledge of all the PDPA principles that apply to the processing of personal data;
  • Be able to analyse how PDPA procedures may curtail press freedom;
  • Have an understanding of journalistic rights;
  • Be able to explain how journalistic rights are balanced with the freedom of speech.
  • Be able to establish procedures for the safe handling of personal data.


Who Should Attend

Journalists, reporters, editors, bloggers, and anyone involved in writing and communicators generally will find this seminar very useful. Previous knowledge of the law is not required.

The Speaker

U K Menon is a lawyer-educator with four decades in education. One of his specialisations is media law, which he has taught to journalists in Malaysia and other countries. In recent years he has given talks to different audiences on the impact of the PDPA on education, building security and journalistic rights.

He was at various times, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Wawasan Open University, Director of Studies and CEO Stamford College, Malaysia, Associate Director, Asia Law Centre (University of Melbourne) and architect and coordinator of the law program at the Mara Institute of Technology, Malaysia.