Law and Media Round Up – 7 January 2013

7 01 2013

Round Up 2013Happy New Year to all our readers. This is the first round up of 2013, following a three part Review of the Year 2012 [1, 2, 3].  Firstly, there is still time to complete the Inforrm Media Law Quiz of the Year, set by the reigning champion, Benjamin Pell. Answers should be submitted to Inforrm by email (to inforrmeditorial@gmail.com) by 14 January 2013.  Secondly, please do let us know if we’ve missed anything, or if you have suggestions for items to include in the next round up: inforrmeditorial@gmail.com or jt.townend@gmail.com.

Ned Rocknroll, who is married to the actor Kate Winslet, has obtained an injunction preventing The Sun from publishing photographs from 2010 that he says are private. The Sun reports here; Press Gazette here.

A Freedom of Information request made by the Sun newspaper revealed that five police officers and a member of civilian staff involved in Operation Weeting have faced misconduct allegations. A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said:

Many of the misconduct matters involving staff from Operations Weeting, Elveden and Tuleta took place prior to the officers being posted to these operations. The MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) takes all matters of misconduct and professional behaviour seriously. It should, however, be noted that the majority of these cases were at the less serious end of the scale and that the sanction of management action is not a formal misconduct outcome and is considered to be part of the normal managerial responsibility of managers in the police service.

Complaints to police involving Facebook and Twitter led to 650 people being charged during 2012, according to statistics released by 29 police forces in England and Wales.

In California, the singer Justin Bieber has called formeaningful legislation and whatever other necessary steps to protect the lives and safety of celebrities, police officers, innocent public bystanders, and the photographers themselves,” following an accident in which a 29 year old photographer was killed in LA.

And, John Prescott has joined the Sunday Mirror as a columnist.

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

We are not aware of anything to report in this section. Please contact inforrmeditorial@gmail.com with any relevant information.

Journalism and regulation

There have been no newly published adjudications since late November, but several resolved cases in December (since our last round up).

This month, interesting cases include: Holly Willoughby v Sunday Sport, Clauses 1, 3, 02/01/2013: The television presenter complained about an ‘up skirt’ photograph of another woman getting out of a taxi, headlined ‘HOLLY WILLOUGHBY UP THE SKIRT PHOTO SHOCK!’. The newspaper apologised on its front page stating, “Contrary to the clear impression that we give in the edition, no part of the ‘up skirt’ photograph was of Holly Willoughby. It was an image of another woman which had been used to create the illusion that it was of Holly”.

In Ms Karin Ward v The Sun, Clause 1, 04/01/2013, Ward complained that the paper had inaccurately identified her in a photograph in an article about Jimmy Savile’s abuse. “The matter was resolved when the newspaper wrote privately to the complainant, apologising for its error and the distress caused,” reports the PCC.

January’s other resolved cases so far include:

Nigel Brown v North Somerset Times, Clause 1, 04/01/2013; Mrs Elizabeth Logan v East Riding Mail, Clause 1, 04/01/2013; A woman v Guernsey Press & Star, Clause 5, 04/01/2013; Mr Scott Maxwell v The Scottish Sun, Clause 1, 04/01/2013; Ms Karin Ward v The Sun, Clause 1, 04/01/2013; East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust v Bexhill on Sea Observer, Clause 1, 04/01/2013; East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust v Rye & Battle Observer, Clause 1, 04/01/2013; East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust v Battle Observer, Clause 1, 04/01/2013; East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust v Hastings & St Leonards Observer, Clause 1, 04/01/2013; Mr Andrew Darling v Berwickshire News, Clause 1, 04/01/2013.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) recorded 121 killings in targeted attacks and cross fire incidents in 2012. Additionally, thirty died in accidents or of illness while they were at work. “The death toll for 2012 is another indictment of governments which pay lip service to the protection of journalists but have consistently failed to stop their slaughter,said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. Countries with the highest numbers of media fatalities include: Syria, 35; Somalia, 18; Pakistan, 10; Mexico, 10; Philippines, 5; Iraq, 5.

The investigative journalist Nick Davies has been awarded an honoury doctorate at the London School of Economics (Department of Media and Communications).

Research & resources

  • Geoffrey Robertson in Standpoint Magazine: ‘We Can Have a Free Press and Justice Too’
  • ‘Belarus: Pulling the Plug’, Policy paper on digital challenges to freedom of expression in Belarus by Andrei Aliaksandrau, Index on Censorship [PDF]
  • ‘Savile investigations risk being hamstrung by time limitation’, Dr Jonathan Rogers, Senior Lecturer in Law at UCL [PDF]
  • Media regulation: time to turn the mirror of transparency?‘ Anna Donovan, PhD student, UCL Laws.

In the Courts

On 3 January 2013, an injunction was granted to Ned Rocknroll against News Group Newspapers, to restrain the publication of photographs in the “Sun”.

Events

16 January 2013, all day, Community Journalism Conference – Enabling and Empowering Communities, Cardiff University, Bute Building, Cardiff.

21 January 2013, 6.30pm, POLIS/Linklaters Public Lecture – Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich – Chrystia Freeland, Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE, London.

30 January 2013, 7pm, You Can’t Listen to this Talk with Nick Cohen, QMUL Atheism, Secularism & Humanism Society and QMUL Literature Society, London.

31 January 2013, 6.30pm, Marketing Medicine Online: Social Media and Pharma, Polis / Human Digital, Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, LSE, London.

5 April 2013, Polis Journalism Conference, LSE, London.

Know of any media law events happening in the next few months? Please let Inforrm know: inforrmeditorial@gmail.com.

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

Azerbaijan:

President Ilham Aliev pardoned 86 prisoners on 26 December, including two journalists: Anar Bayramli, a correspondent for Iranian Sahar TV, and Aydin Janiyev, a regional correspondent for the newspaper Khural, who had both spent several months in detention. The blogger Taleh Khasmammadov was also pardoned [OCSE].

Canada: 

In the case of James v. Black Press Group Ltd (2012 BCSC 1969) the Supreme Court of British Columbia awarded libel damages of Can$35,000 to a person who was mistakenly identified as a sex offender on a website.  The defence of responsible publication was rejected.

In the case of Foulidis v. Baker, (2012 ONSC 7295) the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed a libel action brought against a candidate in a local election over a letter written to the local councillors and mayor.  The defence of qualified privilege was made out and some of the words were fair comment.

In the case of Whitehead v. Sarachman (2012 ONSC 6641) Ontario Superior Court of Justice Divisional Court allowed the defendant’s appeal against a libel verdict in favour of the plaintiff and ordered a re-trial on the basis that the trial judge failed correctly to state the law on qualified privilege.

Northern Ireland:

Sinn Fein is considering appealing the jury’s verdict in a libel case in which it was ordered to pay £80,000 in damages to Declan Gormley, former non-executive director of Northern Ireland Water [Belfast Telegraph].

Singapore:

A new Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) came into force on 2 January [Out-Law.com].

Next week in the courts

The Hilary Term begins on Friday, 11th January (to Wednesday 27 March).

Next week in Parliament

The House of Commons is sitting from Monday 7 January 2013; the House of Lords will next sit on Tuesday 8 January 2013.

Tuesday 8 January 2013, 2.30pm, Oral Questions – Government plans in respect of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (Amendment of Schedule 1) Order 2012 which the House declined to approve on 3 December – Lord Bach. Main Chamber, House of Lords.

Thursday 10 January 2013, 9.30am, Oral Questions – Culture, Media and Sport, including Topical Questions; Women and Equalities, Main Chamber, House of Commons.

Friday 11 January 2013, 10am, Debate – Lord Justice Leveson report on the culture, practices and ethics of the press – Viscount Younger of Leckie, Main Chamber, House of Lords.

Judgments

The following reserved judgments after public hearings remain outstanding:

  • Iqbal v Mansoor, heard 31 October 2012 (Rix, Etherton and Lewison LJJ)
  • Tamiz v Google, heard 3 and 4 December 2012 (Master of the Rolls, Richards and Sullivan LJJ)
  • Citation PLC -v- Ellis Whittam Limited, heard 5 December 2012 (Laws, Arden and Tomlinson LJJ)
  • Rothschild v Associated Newspapers heard 12 and 13 December 2012 (Laws, McCombe LJJ and Eady J)

Also recently on Inforrm

This week’s Round Up was compiled for Inforrm by Judith Townend, a freelance journalist and PhD researcher examining legal restraints on the media, who runs the Meeja Law blog. She is @jtownend on Twitter. Please send suggestions, tips and event listings for inclusion in future round ups to jt.townend@gmail.com.


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7 01 2013
Law and Media Round Up – 7 January 2013 | Media law and ethics

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