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Law and Media Round Up – 17 June 2013

New Round UpThere has been much online debate this weekend about the Sunday People’s use of photographs of the television chef Nigella Lawson and her husband Charles Saatchi, and the ethical issues involved. Commentaries can be found at the New Statesman and Zelo Street.

Harriet Harman, shadow culture secretary has called for laws which would limit media ownership, as the Media Reform Coalition reports here.

The partner of the French President, Valerie Trierweiler, won a privacy claim against the authors and the publisher of the book La Frondeuse (“The Rebellious One”). On 5 June 2013, the 17th Civil Chamber of the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris ordered the authors and publishers to pay the sum of €10,000. The magazine Point de Vue was also ordered to pay €3,000 in damages. Ms Trierweiler’s spokesman said the damages would be donated to charity. Inforrm reported the case here.

The Guardian reports that the former England footballer Paul Gascoigne is pursuing a defamation and privacy claim against the Daily Star over a leaked mobile phone video allegedly stolen from his flat.

The Newspaper Society has submitted evidence to the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee detailing its concerns with the proposed arbitration regime. These documents include: Newspaper Society’s Submission on Arbitration / Tony Jaffa: The Future of Press Regulation / Simon Westrop: Views on Arbitration [see Inforrm’s past coverage on arbitration here].

Channel 4 News has a blog post by Michael Crick analysing documents lodged in defence of a libel claim brought by former chief whip Andrew Mitchell against the Sun newspaper.

Caroline Lucas MP was interrupted in Parliament this week, as she made her case against media sexism in a Westminster Hall debate, highlighting the way in which “violence is normalised”, because her T-Shirt, bearing the slogan “No more Page 3” was deemed not to comply with House standards of dress. After putting her jacket on, she said it struck it her as “an irony that this T-shirt is regarded as an inappropriate thing to be wearing in this House, whereas, apparently, it is appropriate for this kind of newspaper to be available to buy in eight different outlets on the Palace of Westminster estate. That is why I have written to the Palace asking for them to be withdrawn, and for them not to be on sale until page 3 is removed“.

The Guardian’s NSA/surveillance revelations continue, with its latest report revealing that “GCHQ intercepted foreign politicians’ communications at G20 summits”.

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

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Journalism and regulation

The BBC Trust has published a new review and its conclusions on the BBC’s complaints framework, following implementation of changes in June 2012 [PDF]. A summary can be found here.

The co-editor of the Guardian’s corrections column, Barbara Harper, notes that very few complaints about live blogs reach the readers’ editor’s office

partly because readers are able to interact directly with the person writing the live blog as it runs over several hours, pointing out what they see as inaccuracies, but also because readers know that a live blog is never a finished, polished product and expect a few rough edges“.

Her latest column also discusses the style and verification process of these types of news blogs.

There are no new PCC adjudications to report, and only a handful of resolved cases this week, including: Mr & Mrs Philip Copestick v The Sun, Clause 1, 14/06/2013; Mr Terry Mills v Daily Mail, Clause 1, 14/06/2013; Andrew Green v The Sun, Clauses 1, 3, 5, 11/06/2013; Andrew Green v Daily Mail, Clauses 1, 3, 5, 11/06/2013; Mr Kevin Pringle v Sunday Post, Clause 1, 10/06/2013.

The final complaint listed here concerned the presentation of the SNP’s response to a report on the Leveson Report in Scotland by an Expert Group, led by former Solicitor General Lord McCluskey.

Mr Kevin Pringle, SNP strategic communications director, made a complaint on behalf of the Scottish National Party, over an article in the Sunday Post, which he considered had “inaccurately suggested that the First Minister would be implementing the recommendation of the McCluskey report“. Additionally, the complainant was also concerned “that the article had misleadingly suggested a link between the McCluskey report and the announcement of SNP plans to produce a campaign publication in the run up to the independence referendum, and a description of the campaign publication as “Pravda-like“”.

The complaint was resolved after the PCC negotiated the publication of the following clarification:

On 17 March, we published a story under the headline “Salmond gags press then launches his own paper”. We wish to point out that this related to the recommendations of an Expert Group which did not necessarily represent the views of the Scottish Government, and that since then the Scottish Parliament has unanimously agreed to Scotland’s participation in a UK-wide Royal Charter for the regulation of the press, subject to its amendment to reflect properly Scotland’s devolved responsibilities, Scots law and Scottish circumstances. We are happy to place on the record that the SNP launching a campaign publication for the independence referendum is unrelated to the issue of press regulation.

On Twitter, Pringle wrote: “Pleased to reach amicable resolution of complaint via @UKPCC about a @Sunday_Post article (…) It’s a great family paper“.

Commentary, research & resources

In the Courts

On 12 June 2013, judgment was handed down in a libel and malicious falsehood dispute between the organisers of business conferences, Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc v Aviation News Ltd & Anor [2013] EWHC 1505 (QB), The Claimant had asked for permission to add a second claimant, Euromoney Trading Limited, and to amend the claim form and the Original Particulars of Claim: to abandon the claim for special and aggravated damages for libel and the claim for damages for the intentional infliction of harm by unlawful means, and add a new claim in malicious falsehood. Tugendhat J refused permission to amend and the case was struck out. 5RB’s case report can be found here.

Judgment was handed down in Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Com. v Al Refai & Ors [2013] EWHC 1630 (Comm) (12 June 2013), a case in the Commercial Court concerning a claim that the defendants worked together to damage the Claimants’ reputation and their business. The fourth defendants, FTI Consulting Group Limited (“FTI”), sought to strike out part of the claim and summary judgment on certain issues.

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17 June 2013,Rally For Media Reform – Our Media, Not Theirs!”, the University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1.

24-25 June 2013, The Constitution of the Public Sphere: the post-Leveson Landscape (W G Hart Legal Workshop 2013), Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London.

26 June 2013, 6pm, Turning the Page on Media Sexism, NUJ, London.

Until 9 July 2013, Co-operatives UK and Carnegie UK Trust events on ‘Make your local news work’, various locations, UK.

17 September 2013, IBC Legal’s Protecting the Media 2013, London.

26-27 September 2013, Jersey Law Via the Internet 2013, Radisson Blu Hotel, Jersey

8-9 April 2014, 1984: Freedom and Censorship in the Media – Where Are We Now?“, Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sunderland

Know of any media law events happening in the next few months? Please let Inforrm know:

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

China: The South China Morning Post reports that the Chinese-American author Ping Fu has been threatened by her former university over her memoir Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds. It reports:

Fu’s alma mater, Soochow University in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, said on Friday that anecdotes in her memoirs, in which she makes claims that during her time at the university she was arrested for her college research, were “falsehoods” and called on the author to participate in a public debate to clarify the details.

Next week in the courts

We are not aware of any media law cases listed this forthcoming week.

Next week in Parliament

Tuesday 18 June 2013, 10am, Culture, Media and Sport select committee. Subject: Regulation of the press. Witness(es): Lionel Barber, Editor, Financial Times and Mr Chris Blackhurst, Editor, The Independent. Location: The Grimond Room, Portcullis House, House of Commons.

Tuesday 18 June 2013, 2.30pm, Ensuring all children have access to sex and relationship education, including responsible use of the internet and social media – Baroness Jones of Whitchurch, Main Chamber, House of Lords.

Tuesday 18 June 2013, 3.30pm, Legislation – Intellectual Property Bill [HL] – Committee stage (Day 3) – Viscount Younger of Leckie, Grand Committee, House of Lords.

Wednesday 19 June 2013, 8.55am – Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee. Subject: Draft Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (Referral Fees) Regulations 2013. Location: Committee Room 11, Palace of Westminster.

Wednesday 19 June 2013, 12pm, Debate – Opposition day [3rd allotted day] – (i) Economic and Social Importance of Regional Arts and the Creative Industries (ii) Subject to be announced / Adjournment – Future of the National Media Museum in Bradford – Mr George Galloway. Main Chamber, House of Commons.

Wednesday 19 June, 3pm – Oral Questions – Protecting children from easily accessing pornography and other adult material online – Baroness Benjamin / Short Debate – Review by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel ‘When laws become too complex’ – Lord Bates/Lord Gardiner of Kimble. Main Chamber, House of Lords.

Wednesday 19 June, 3.15pm, Communications select committee (House of Lords), Subject: Media plurality. Witness(es): (at 3.30pm) evidence will be heard from Professor Richard Collins, City, Huddersfield and the Open universities and (at 4.15pm) from Professor Steven Barnett, University of Westminster. Location: Committee Room 2, Palace of Westminster.

Thursday 20 June 2013, 9.30am Oral Questions – Culture, Media & Sport, including Topical Questions; Women & Equalities. Main Chamber, House of Commons.

Thursday 20 June 2013, 9.30am, 1.30pm – 4.30pm – (i) Interpreting and translation services and the Applied Language Solutions contract, Sixth Report of the Justice Committee, HC 645, Session 2012-13, and the Government response, Cm 8600 (ii) UK contributions to the nuclear non-proliferation Treaty. Main Chamber, House of Commons.


The following reserved judgment after a public hearing remains outstanding:

Hunt v Times Newspapers, heard 29 and 30 April, 1-3, 7-10, 13, 16 and 17 May 2013 (Simon J)

Also on Inforrm last week

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

1 Comment

  1. Scott Gelman

    This blog contains huge invaluable information regarding the week’s Round Up compiled by analyzing the various legal restraints on the media. It will definitely be beneficial for every law abiding citizen on wide ranges of Law and Media sections.

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