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.
Privacy law and “gagging orders” continue to command a high degree of media attention this week. There was the story (or perhaps non-story) about the “MP with a super-injunction”. We have already posted about this. There were news reports of another footballer obtaining a “Clark Kent” injunction (see the report in the Daily Telegraph). And TV presenter Gabby Logan has “hit back at internet lies that she had an affair with colleague Alan Shearer” – and stating that she had never obtained an injunction (see the Daily Mail report). Meanwhile, it is reported that an employment judge has granted a “gagging order” to an internationally renowned chef to “prevent publication of a legal wrangle with two former employees”. Today a number of newspapers report a story about the “outing” of anonymised privacy claimants on Twitter. This is front page news in the Daily Mail. The “Daily Telegraph” reports one person named on Twitter as denying the story.
A quiet week in the phone hacking saga – before the anticipated activity this week (see below). It was reported that Heather Mills was contemplating action – along with, inter alia, Ashley Cole and Wayne Rooney. Max Mosley told Vanity Fair that he had agreed to stand behind a number of claimants “facing heavy legal bills” in their actions against the News of the World.
Mr Mosley will be in the news on Tuesday 10 May 2011 when the Court of Human Rights hands down judgment in his claim against the United Kingdom. We posted on this last week and the Independent on Sunday caught up on the story yesterday and it is also mentioned on the Greenslade blog.
On 5 May 2011, there was an assessment of damages in a libel case after judgment had been entered in default. Master Roberts awarded the London publisher of pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al Awsat, HH Saudi Research and Marketing, and two senior editorial staff libel damages totalling £85,000. The publisher was awarded £20,000, while editor-in-chief of Tariq Al-Homayed received £30,000 and senior journalist Maad Fayad £35,000. There is a report in the Press Gazette and on the 5RB website.
The Meeja law blog’s mobile media mop up is, this week, on a Friday – covering two weeks. It is entitled “End of week media law mop up: Ian Tomlinson inquest; super injunction rumours; and Cameron defence of PCC”
Journalism and the PCC
We posted last week on David Cameron’s comments on privacy on the “Today” programme. In a post on his Guardian blog Roy Greenslade reflects on “What Cameron’s Defence of the PCC really means”
The “Guardian” reports that the PCC is to consult on how tweets can be brought under its remit, asking each newspaper to draw up a ‘Twitter policy’. Meanwhile the Media Blog has a post on “Which papers tweet most efficiently?” – the Mail has most tweets, the Guardian and the FT most followers with the Independent having the best rate of retweeting.
Meanwhile, the PCC has hit back at claims made by politicians that it lacks public confidence (see the Press Gazette, ‘PCC hits back at claims that public has lost confidence’). Its director Stephen Abell said that the organisation has never been more active or proactive, has high satisfaction rates from the people that use its services and is helping more people than ever before. But the PCC Watch blog is not convinced, pointing out that in 2010 the PCC only actually adjudicated 44 complaints, of which 24 were not upheld.
The Tabloid Watch blog has been watching the “Express” – drawing attention to the fact that it “continues to lie about the EU“. It goes on to report the “Express'” refusal to publish a corrective letter from an EU representative. As Roy Greenslade points out on his blog, now the the Express has left the PCC there is nothing which can be done.
Finally, the Five Chinese Crackers blog has its April “Tabloid Bullshit of the Month” award It reports that it was impossible to distinguish between the two joint winners: Tom Whitehead of the Telegraph for ‘Almost one in eight people living in UK are born abroad‘ and ‘Concerns over foreign crime wave‘, and Jack Doyle of the Mail for ‘Migrant crime wave revealed: Foreign arrests have almost doubled in just THREE years‘.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
We are not aware of any Statements in Open Court having made in the past week. There is, however, one which we missed last month. On 7 April 2011 there was a Statement in Open Court in the case of Halyvourgiki Inc v Citigroup Global Markets Ltd. The case concerned inaccuracies in a research report issued by the defendant.
In the Courts
On 5 May 2011, Mr Justice Tugendhat heard the Pre Trial Review in the linked cases of Modi v Clarke and International Management Group (UK) Ltd v Clarke – due for trial in July 2011.
[Update] On 6 May 2011 Mr Justice Tugendhat gave judgment in the case of Bacon v Automattic  EWHC 1072 (QB) – a Norwich Pharmacal application in which he held that the operators of WordPress and Wikipedia could be served with the order in the United States by Email.
Media and Freedom of Expression Law in Other Jurisdictions
In Australia, our attention has been drawn to two decisions of the Supreme Court in Victoria. First, in Gant v The Age Company Limited & Ors  VSC 169 (29 April 2011) concerned the question of whether material published was capable of giving rise to imputations pleaded by plaintiff and whether it one of the causes of action was statute-barred. In Amanatidis & Anor v Darmos  VSC 163 (29 April 2011) the issue was whether the defendant was responsible for the publication of two defamatory letters. It was held that the defendant arranged the delivery. Damages of AUS$5,000 were awarded to the first plaintiff and Aus$10,000 to the second plaintiff.
In Canada it is reported by the Montreal Gazette that two defendants who successfully invoked Quebec’s “Anti-SLAPP” legislation are reported to be out of pocket on legal costs of Can$142,000.
In Holland a court has ruled in favour of Danish artist Nadia Plesner who had been sued by Louis Vuitton over the use of a look-a-like Louis Vuitton bag in her artworks, The Court held that
“the interest of Plesner to (continue to) be able to express her (artistic) opinion through the work “Simple Living” should outweigh the interest of Louis Vuitton in the peaceful enjoyment of its possession.”
Academic Books and Articles
Matthew D. Bunker, Drew E. Shenkman, and Charles D. Tobin, have published an article on the question of imputation of homosexuality in defamation law “Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That: Imputations of Homosexuality and the Normative Structure of Defamation Law” (2011) 21 Fordham Intellectual Property Media and Entertainment Law Journal 581.
Michael Birnhack (Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University) has a paper on “A Quest for a Theory of Privacy: Context and Control (Jurimetrics, Vol. 51, No. 4, 2011).
Events and Television
On Tuesday 9 May 2011 the “Joint Committee on the Defamation Bill” will hear evidence from a distinguished cast of practising solicitors: Keith Mathieson, Mark Stephens, Marcus Partington, Nigel Tait, Rod Christie-Miller, Jeremy Clarke-Williams, and Duncan Lamont.
On the same day, at 10.35pm on BBC1 there is Episode 5 of “See you in Court“. This episode follows George Galloway as he takes on the News of The World over phone hacking claims, Danielle Lloyd when she does battle with Carphone Warehouse after she finds out private pictures were stolen from her mobile phone. There is a story about the programme here.
Next Week in the Courts
On Monday 9 May 2011 Mr Justice Eady will deal with the case of IWL v FYM – we have no further details.
As already mentioned, on Tuesday 10 May 2011 the Court of Human Rights will give judgment in the case of Mosley v United Kingdom. There is a Court Press Release.
On Wednesday 11 May 2011 the Court of Appeal (Master of the Rolls, Toulson and EthertonLJJ) will hear the case of Queen (on the application of Gaunt) v OFCOM. Mr Gaunt’s application for judicial review of an OFCOM ruling was dismissed by the Administrative Court on 13 July 2010. Dan Tench’s case comment is here.
On Thursday 12 May 2011, the Administrative Court will hear the renewed application for permission to apply for judicial review by Lord Prescott, Chris Bryant MP and others (Queen (on the application of Bryant and ors) v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis). Permission was refused by Mr Justice Mitting in February 2011.
On the same day, Mr Justice Vos will hear applications in the phone hacking cases of Hoppen v NGN and Miller v NGN. The latter concerns the issue as to whether the News of the World’s offer of £100,000 has brought Ms Miller’s claim to an end.
On Friday 13 May 2011, Mr Justice Tugendhat will hear an application concerning mode of trial in Thornton v Telegraph Media Group.
The following reserved judgments after public hearings remain outstanding:
El Diwany v Ministry of Justice & the Police, Norway, heard 16 March 2011 (Sharp J).
Clynes v O’Connor, heard 19 April 2011 (Eady J)