In this regular feature we draw attention to the last week’s law and media news and next week’s upcoming events. If readers have any news or events which they would like to draw attention to please add them by way of comments on this post.
The biggest media law story of the week concerns the release of the Judgment by Mr Justice Bean prohibiting the publication of the new identity of Jon Venables. Following the hearing on Friday 23rd July, there have been numerous media reports of the current threats to Venables including a vigilante group on Facebook. The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph and the Guardian have a number of articles about Venables. Blake Morrision also has an opinion piece in the Guardian. We have a post on the Judgment and there is a report on the Press Gazette website.
As we reported last week on Monday 26 July 2010, the libel trial in Bryce v Barber began in front of Mr Justice Tugendhat. Raymond Bryce, a law student who represented himself, succeeded in obtaining an award of £10,000 is respect of a Facebook posting by Jeremiah Barber falsely accusing Bryce of being a paedophile. There was no detailed judgment but Mr Justice Tugendhat reportedly said that the this posting was
“not only defamatory but a defamation which goes to a central aspect of Mr Bryce’s private life as well as his public reputation. The post was deeply offensive to him but also a cause for alarm”
The most significant legal decision last week was the decision of the Court of Appeal in the Imerman v Tchenguiz which concerns the general principles of the law of confidence and privacy and their application to obligations betweens spouses and the disclosure process in the divorce proceedings. Although this decision appears on first glance to be confined to disclosure rules in divorce proceedings , it is in fact a highly significant decision for privacy and confidentiality law. The Court of Appeal panel comprised of the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, ( who was was in the Court of Appeal in Douglas v Hello!), Lord Justice Moses and Lord Justice Munby. This will be the subject of a separate post in the next few days.
Apologies and Settlements
A number of apologies and settlements have been announced this week. The Standard and the Daily Mail apologised and paid damages to Muslim academic Reza Pankhurst over an allegation that he had “groomed” a suicide bomber. The apologies are reported in the Press Gazette.
The Daily Mail and the Sun apologised and paid substantial damages to Tamil hunger striker Parameswaran Subramanyam who they had falsely accused of sneaking away to eat McDonald’s burgers. The apologies are reported in the Press Gazette.
As Tabloid Watch comments, for the Daily Mail it was “Two libel payouts in two days”
From the Blogs
Roy Greenslade reports a statement by Paul Dacre, Editor of the Daily Mail, in his annual report on behalf of the PCC Editors Code Committee attacking “ignorant and prejudiced” PCC critics. The Full statement is on the Editors’ Committee Own website. It is also worth reading the comments at the bottom of the Greenslade Blog. The Enemies of Reason blog has a characteristically forceful analysis of Mr Dacre’s comments.
The UK Human Rights Blog has a discussion about the Imerman appeal from the perspective of the divorce proceedings, entitled “Stolen Documents Divorce Ruling A Blow to Human Rights of Poorer Partners.”
Journalism.co.uk reports of the wikileaks disclosures co-ordinated with the New York Times, Der Spiegel and The Guardian about the Afghanistan war logs. There is also a report on the issues on the Frontline website.
US Law and Media News
Once again, this will be the subject of a separate post.
The following reserved judgments remain outstanding:
Clift v Slough BC heard 23 and 24 June 2010 (Ward, Thomas and Richards LJJ).