The most high profile media story of the week was that concerning the actor George Clooney and the Daily Mail. He wrote a piece in USA Today criticising what he calls “a completely fabricated story” in the Daily Mail about his mother-in-law to be and her alleged opposition to him marrying her daughter.
The Mail apologised but on Friday, Clooney rejected the paper’s apology, accusing it of a “cover-up” and of telling a “premeditated lie”. There were posts about the story on the Media Blog and Zelo Street blog.
The Press Gazette reports that Daily Mail has agreed to pay Tom Clarke MP damages of £15,000 in respect of a false allegation about his own expenses record.
On 12 July 2014, Channel 5 broadcast “The Trial of Gillian Taylforth”, a reconstruction of an entertaining libel trial from January 1994 – with a relatively low level of legal errors. This is the report of the trial in the Independent from 26 January 1994.
Barristers’ chambers, 5RB, has announced that Michael Gomulka, Neil Baki and Robert Shaw who joined them in March 2014 have decided to return to their old chambers at 25 Bedford Row.
The House of Lords Communications Committee has announced an inquiry into the legal and regulatory framework around social media and communications offences. Questions likely to be raised in this inquiry include:
- Whether the law currently covering offences related to social media and communications offences is capable of adapting to the way in which people behave, given the speed of changes in technology.
- If there are areas of overlap or gaps in the range of legislation covering social media and communications offences, which means that categorising the offence is not always clear.
- Whether the sentences handed out for social media and communications offences are known, consistent and appropriate and, more generally, whether other approaches, such as restorative justice and education, might be more effective.
- How, in responding to these issues, reform to the current package of legislation can strike an effective balance between victim protection and freedom of expression.
Google’s Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, wrote a piece for the Guardian, Comment is Free, entitled “We need to talk about the right to be forgotten”.
Edward Hadas has a piece on the Reuters blog entitled “Google, privacy and the common good”
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
There were no statements in open court last week.
Newspapers, Journalism and regulation
The PCC has published one adjudication this week, in the case of Stan Collymore v The Sun. The complaints were under clauses 1 and 4 and were rejected. There was a report about this adjudication in the Press Gazette. There were eleven published resolved complaints.
Roy Greenslade draws attention to the latest ABC circulation figures which show that the overall daily newsprint market is falling at a rate of more than 8% a year, with the Sunday market falling at more than 9%. A 10-year comparisons reveals that the Sunday market total has dropped from 12,752,933 to 6,697,573, a decrease of 47.5%.
In the Courts
On 7 July 2014, the Court of Appeal (Lewison, Macur and Sharp LJJ) heard the appeal in the case of Bewry v. Reed Elsevier UK Limited (T/A Lexisnexis). Judgment was reserved.
On the same day, Carr J heard an application for summary judgment in NNN v Ryan. The trial is due to take place on 21 July 2014.
The appeal in the case of Flood v Times Newspapers, was heard on 8 July 2014 by Sharp and Macur LJJ and Sir Timothy Lloyd. Judgment was reserved.
On 9 July 2014, the Court of Appeal (Arden and Christopher Clarke LJJ and Barling J) heard an appeal in the case of IG Index v Cloete. Judgment was reserved.
On 11 July 2014, Sir David Eady handed down judgment in the case of SRJ v Persons Unknown ( EWHC 2293 (QB)). He refused an order that the Defendant’s solicitors identify their client.
14 July 2014, The Media (supported by ITN), “Rewriting History: Is the new era in Data Protection compatible with journalism?”, ITN, 200 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8XZ
Know of any media law events happening later this summer or in the autumn? Please let Inforrm know: email@example.com.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
In the case of Saravinovski v Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd ( NSWSC 919) McCallum J held that an online article in the Sydney Morning Herald was not capable of bearing seven of the nine imputations pleaded. However, she concluded that the imputation that the plaintiff was a corrupt mayor was a proper one to be left to the jury.
In Stanizzo v Sassu ( NSWDC 90) Gibson DCJ granted the first to fourth defendants summary judgment and dismissed the claim against them.
It is reported that, on 10 July 2014, in the case of Darren Mooney v Nationwide News McCallum J held that the article complained of was capable of meaning that the former Cronulla Sharks manager was negligent or grossly incompetent.
Blogger Michael Geist has two posts “In Defence of Canada’s anti-spam law”:
- Part One: Why Spam is Still a Problem and the New Law Will Help
- Part Two: Why the Legislation Is Really a Consumer Protection and Privacy Law in Disguise
It is reported that former cabinet minister Tony Ianno has joined a libel suit launched by his wife, Christine Innes, after she was barred from running for the Liberals in the recent Trinity-Spadina by election.
The SpicyIP blog has a post about the case of Khawar Butt vs Asif Nazir Mir & Ors (7 November 2013, Delhi High Court) entitled “Defamation on social media: Delhi High Court adopts the ‘Single Publication Rule’”
The Straits Times has reported that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has made an application for summary judgment in his defamation suit against blogger Roy Ngerng.
Research and Resources
- “A proposed solution to the problem of Libel Tourism”, Ali Auda, SSRN.
- “Virtues and Perils of Anonymity: Should Intermediaries Bear the Burden?” Nicol Zingales, TILEC, SSRN.
- “Privacy and the Charter: Protection of People or Places?”, Eric H Reiter, (2009) 88 Canadian Bar Review 119-146, SSRN.
- “Social Networking Sites – An Emerging Threat to Online Privacy?”, Sankalp Jain, Delhi High Court, SSRN
Next week in the courts
On 15 July 2014, there will be an application in Sharma v Sharma.
On 16 July 2014, there will be an application Royal Brompton & Harfield NHS Trust v Shaikh.
On 17 July 2014, there will an application in the case of BUQ v HRE.
The following reserved judgment in media law cases are outstanding:
Stocker v Stocker, heard 16 June 2014 (HHJ Parkes QC)
Tardios v Linton, heard 17 June 2014 (HHJ Parkes QC)
PNM v Times Newspapers, heard 18 June 2014 (Master of the Rolls, Jackson and Vos LJJ).
Cartius v Atlantic Mobility, heard 19 June 2014 (HHJ Parkes QC)
Garcia v Associated Newspapers, heard 20 June 2014 (Bean J)
Kadir v Channel 5, heard 2 and 3 July 2014 (Nicol J)
Bewry v. Reed Elsevier UK Limited (T/A Lexisnexis), heard 7 July 2014 (Lewison, Macur and Sharp LJJ)
Flood v Times Newspapers, heard 8 July 2014 (Sharp and Macur LJJ and Sir Timothy Lloyd).
IG Index v Cloete. heard 9 July 2014, (Arden and Christopher Clarke LJJ and Barling J).