Two former police officers, an ex-prison officer and another public official have admitted selling information to the Sun. These are the first accused to plead guilty in relation to the investigation into alleged illegal payments by journalists, as reported by Inforrm here.
In the case of Tesla Motors v BBC ( EWCA Civ 152) the Court of Appeal refused an appeal against the strike out of a libel claim against the BBC in relation to a review of an electric sports car by the “Top Gear” programme, as reported by Rosalind English here.
Email correspondence between the Sunday Times journalist Isabel Oakeshott and Vicky Pryce has been made public. A jury last week rejected Pryce’s defence of “marital coercion” and found her guilty of taking her ex-husband’s speeding points 10 years ago. Oakeshott has written about her involvement in the story in the Sunday Times (subscription required). Oakeshott says The Sunday Times put up a vigorous fight in court, to prevent disclosure of the documents: “But eventually we were forced by a judge to give up the correspondence, along with copies of our written agreement with Vicky“.
MPs voted in the Commons to give the Justice and Security Bill a third reading, by 222 votes to 13, with a Government majority of 209. The legislation will now go before the House of Lords. Dinah Rose QC has resigned her membership of the Liberal Democrats in protest, following the party leadership’s support of the bill.
Update: In what is reported as a “critical week” for Leveson negotiations, the three main parties were due to meet on Monday night to attempt to agree a deal. However, the Independent reports that “difficulties in cross-party talks yesterday [Sunday] meant the probable postponement of a planned meeting“. Over the last week, libel reform campaigners have been calling on politicians to encourage the government to bring the bill back into the House of Commons. In a widely publicised open letter to the party leaders, a group of writers and members of English PEN argued that “The Defamation Bill is not a suitable vehicle for the wider proposals of press regulation,” urging party leaders to ensure the bill is passed. The Independent, the Guardian and the Financial Times have broken ranks with the other editors and have called for a new press approach to the Leveson recommendations. Additionally, “Leveson amendments” could be added to either the Crime and Courts Bill or the the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. Hacked Off has published a statement arguing that if the amendments to the ERR Bill are passed, the Defamation Bill amendments on Leveson “would become redundant and could be removed to facilitate the continued passage of the Defamation Bill“.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
We are not aware of any statements in open court or apologies in the past week.
If there is anything to include in this section please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Journalism and regulation
The PCC has not announced any resolved or adjudicated cases since last week. Lord Hunt, the body’s chair, made a speech in Bristol on 8 March, echoing his speech in Norwich in November 2012 and revealing that he had asked Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, former President of the Supreme Court, to assemble “a group of experienced and respected individuals“, to begin the appointment process. This week, he said, the membership of the group is being finalised of “four completely independent individuals, all of the highest integrity, plus two very experienced and highly respected journalists“.
The Guardian has reported that, while not confirmed by Lord Hunt, these are thought to be Trevor Kavanagh, columnist at the Sun, Dame Sue Tinson, the former editor of News at Ten, Sir Simon Jenkins, a Guardian columnist and former Times editor, the former cabinet secretary Lord Butler of Brockwell, and Lord Smith, the former Labour culture secretary. Lord Hunt gave a press briefing but refused to confirm the names.
It was International Women’s Day on 8 March. The Australian site New Matilda marked the occasion with the launch of a new investigation that examines the influence and role of women in media, and how Australia compares with the rest of the world in media gender equity. Of 16 major national and metro papers, with separate mastheads, they looked at, there was only one female editor: Michelle Gunn, who edits The Australian’s Weekend edition (they later added Kate Cox, the Sun-Herald editor). In the UK, there is also currently only one female editor of a national paper: Dawn Neesom of the Daily Star.
Research & resources
- Paul Bernal: Internet Surveillance: a despot’s dream…
- 15th annual Annenberg-Oxford Media Policy Summer Institute, to be held from Monday, June 24 to Friday, July 5, 2013 at the University of Oxford. Deadline for applications is 1 April 2013.
- New report – Media Reform Coalition: The elephant next door: a survey of international media ownership regulations [PDF]
- Arrests by the Metropolitan Police, in its various investigations affecting the media, listed on the ‘Phone Hacking Scandal’ site, run by Martin Hickman.
In the Courts
Judgment was handed down in Tesla Motors Ltd & Anor v British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)  EWCA Civ 152 (05 March 2013) – see above.
On 8 March 2013, the Court of Appeal dismissed Citation PLC’s appeal against the strike out of its claim as a Jameel abuse. The Court of Appeal agreed with Tugendhat J that “the game” was “not worth the candle“. It was not proportionate to permit the action to proceed to trial, as One Brick Court reports here (Citation Plc v Ellis Whittam Ltd  EWCA Civ 155 (08 March 2013)).
Judgment was handed down in Iqbal v Dean Manson Solicitors & Ors (No 2)  EWCA Civ 149 (05 March 2013). The appeal was dismissed.
12 March 2013, 6.30pm, Panel debate: Journalism in the Dock, City University London.
15 March 2013, 6.30pm-8.30pm, Media Reform Coalition event – David Mcknight’s book launch, Murdoch’s Politics. Centre for Creative Collaboration, 16 Acton Street, Kings Cross, London WC1X 9NG.
21-22 March 2013, Internet Domain Names: from Registration to Dispute Resolution, Academy of European Law (ERA), Trier, Germany.
27 March 2013, 17:30, Broadcast competition and regulation, Helen Weeds, University of Essex, City University London.
5 April 2013, Polis Journalism Conference, LSE, London.
9 April 2013, Scotsman conference: The Future of the Media in Scotland, The Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh.
22 April 2013, IBC Legal’s 20th Anniversary Defamation & Privacy conference, Grange Tower Bridge Hill, London.
16-17 May 2013, Legal frontiers in digital media: the sixth annual conference on emerging legal issues surrounding digital publishing and content distribution, Stanford University, Paul Brest Hall, Stanford, California.
23-24 May, “Social Media, Regulation and Freedom of Expression: A comparative perspective”. A workshop organized by HKBU and Tsinghua University, Communication & Visual Arts Building, Hong Kong Baptist University. Hong Kong.
Know of any media law events happening in the next few months? Please let Inforrm know: email@example.com.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
United States: The Clark County Nevada District Court has found in favour of the Plaintiff in a case against ‘IsAnyoneUp’ site founder, Hunter Moore, over statements made about James McGibney, the CEO of Bullyville.com. The Plaintiff was awarded $250,000 in damages. ArsTechnica reports on the background here. The judgment is available here [PDF].
Jamaica: A defamation reform bill may be brought into the Jamaican Parliament before the end of the legislative year, it has been reported. According to the International Press Institute, reform would make Jamaica the only independent country in the Caribbean to abolish all forms of criminal libel. The IPI’s campaign around criminal defamation in the Caribbean can be found here.
Next week in the courts
On 11 March 2013 Tugendhat J will hand down judgment in Caborn-Waterfield v Gold & ors, (heard 26 February 2013)
On 12 March 2013 there is an application in Hunt v Times Newspapers.
On 15 March 2013 Sharp J will hear an application concerning costs in Miller v Associated Newspapers Limited
Next week in Parliament
Monday 11 March 2013, 4.30pm, Third Delegated Legislation Committee. Subject: Draft Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (Amendment of Schedule 1) Order 2013, and the draft Civil Legal Aid (Merits Criteria) (Amendment) Regulations 2013. Location: Committee Room 12, Palace of Westminster.
Tuesday 12 March 2013, 5.05pm, Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege
Subject: Parliamentary Privilege. Witness(es): Rt Hon Tom Brake MP, Deputy Leader of the House of Commons and Alex Thomas, Deputy Director of the Elections and Parliament Division, Cabinet Office. Location: 2A.
Wednesday 13 March 2013, 12pm, Legislation – Crime and Courts Bill [HL] – Report stage, House of Commons.
The following reserved judgments after public hearings remain outstanding:
Rothschild v. Associated Newspapers heard 12 and 13 December 2012 (Laws, McCombe LJJ and Eady J)
Thompson v James, heard 13 to 15 and 18 to 20 February 2013 (Tugendhat J)
WXY v Gewanter, heard 4 and 5 March 2013 (Tugendhat J).
Also on Inforrm last week
- Case Law, Northern Ireland, AB Ltd v Facebook Ireland, Libel damages for anonymous posts
- Leveson, the Press and the Separation of Powers – Jacob Rowbottom
- ‘The elephant next door’: new report on media ownership abroad – Media Reform Coalition
- Case Law: Tesla Motors v BBC, Top Gear up before Top Judges – Rosalind English
- The Leveson Inquiry and the Raucous Press – Julian Petley
- Journalisted, week ending 3 March 2013, Eastleigh, The Oscars and riots in Bangladesh
- Leveson, Arbitration and the Press: clearing up some issues – Hugh Tomlinson QC
- News: Four public officials plead guilty over leaks to the Sun
- Case Note: The wife and children of Omar Othman v The English National Resistance and others – anti harassment injunction granted to restrain demonstrators
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.