The biggest story of the week was the publication of a transcript of the “Murdoch Tapes” – secret recordings of discussions between News Corp’s executive chairman and a gathering of Sun journalists. The story was broken, for the second time, by Exaro News and Channel 4.
Roy Greenslade suggested that the leak was the result of the anger of Sun journalists who felt that they were paying the price for doing what was expected of them. He quoted one journalist as saying
“We did as we were bid. No-one thought they were doing wrong. There was no training of any kind. No office lawyer raised any question.”
In last week’s Round Up we mentioned the 10 July 2013 Privy Council meeting and the possibility that the Cross-Party Royal charter could be on the agenda. It has become clear this week that the Charter is unlikely to be sealed at this meeting. On 3 July 2013, victims of press abuse wrote to Maria Miller urging her to send the Cross Party charter to the Privy Council. However, on 4 July 2013, she issued a statement saying that the PressBoF charter petition was going to be added to the list of Privy Council business but, by implication, not the Cross-Party charter. She said that technical changes were being made to this Charter to ensure its application in Scotland and that an “updated version” would be published “in due course”. The Guardian reported a “behind the scenes battle” in the Coalition about the Charter We had a post about the wait for the approval of the Cross Party Charter.
A new investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann was announced this week. It was said that the police were targeting “38 potential suspects”. They also asked for media restraint over the coming months. Roy Greenslade raised the question as to whether the restraint would be forthcoming, reminding readers of his blog of the appalling newspaper treatment of the McCanns at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
There was a Statement in Open Court [pdf] in the case of Cokes v Yachting World. The defendant had made an offer 0f amends and agreed to pay substantial libel damages to a catamaran owner wrongly accused of being a convicted cocaine smuggler.
Journalism and regulation
There has been one new PCC adjudication this week. In the case of A woman v News Shopper (Bexley and North Kent). A woman complained that an article in this newspaper had identified her as a victim of sexual assault in breach of Clause 11. The complaint was upheld. The PCC put out a press release about this adjudication. No resolved complaints were announced this week.
In the Courts
The trial in the case of Cruddas v Calvert began on 2 July 2013 before Tugendhat J. The trial continues.
On 4 July 2013, Nicola Davies J heard an application in the case of Shathri v Guardian News and Media. Judgment was reserved.
On 4 July 2013, Simon J handed down judgment in the case of Hunt v Times Newspapers  EWHC 1868 (QB) [pdf] (heard 29 and 30 April, 1-3, 7-10, 13, 16 and 17 May 2013). The judge found for the defendant newspaper on part of the justification defence and on the Reynolds defence and the claim was dismissed. There were news reports about the case in the Daily Mail, the Independent and the Guardian – as well as extensive coverage in the Sunday Times [£].
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: email@example.com.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
Australia: In the case of Maher v Nationwide News Pty ( WASC 254), Kenneth Martin J in the Supreme Court of Western Australia struck out 5 of the 6 pleaded imputations in a defamation action brought against the “Australian” newspaper. There was also a judgment on meaning by the same judge in the case of Findlay v Grimmer (No.2)  WASC 247.
Jamaica. On Friday 5 July 2013 the Senate debated the Act to Repeal the Defamation Act and the Libel and Slander Act and make new provisions relating to defamation, is to be debated in the Senate today (July 5).
United States. The BBC reports that a Federal Judge has ruled that Sheena Monnin, a former Miss Pennsylvania, must pay Donald Trump’s Miss USA organisation $5m (£3.3m) for defamation after claiming that the contest was rigged. The judge dismissed an appeal against an award by an arbitrator.
Next week in the courts
There will be a hearing in the Mobile Telephone Voicemail Interception Litigation on Monday 8 July 2013 before the new managing judge, Mann J.
The trial in the case of Cruddas v Calvert will continue before Tugendhat J on 8 July 2013. The trial is likely to conclude on Friday 12 July 2013.
On 9 July 2013 there will a hearing in the case of McGrath v Dawkins.
The following reserved judgments after public hearings remain outstanding:
Tamiz v Guardian News and Media, 24 June 2013 (Sharp J)
Hodgins v Squire Sanders (UK) LLP, 28 June 2013 (Sharp J)
Shathri v Guardian News and Media, 4 July 2013 (Nicola Davies J).