On Thursday 13 October 2015 the Press Recognition Panel published its first “Annual Report on the Recognition System” [pdf]. It concluded that urgent action was required and that section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act should be commenced. We had a post about this.
The previous day Sir Joseph Pilling, the so-called “External Reviewer” of IPSO released his report. This found that IPSO was independent and effective. The report was described as “manifestly bogus” by Hacked Off and an “exercise in futility” by Martin Moore.
Zelo Street blog described the report as an ‘IPSO whitewash just in time’, describing IPSO as ‘a sham regulator, the same PCC fluid in a differently labelled bottle.’
However, Roy Greenslade in the Guardian suggested that Sir Alan Moses has proved ‘once again, [that] he was a clever choice for the post’ of IPSO chair. Greenslade discusses in an interview with Moses in the Financial Times where he accused “newspapers” and/or “the press” of a “nasty edge” to their coverage of the Brexit debate, but did not ‘name and shame’ the papers in question.
The House of Lords has voted for an amendment to the Investigatory Powers Bill law which would force news publishers who did not join a recognised regulator to pay both sides’ costs in phone-hacking claims – even if they win them. The amendment is a more limited version of Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013. The Society of Editors executive director Bob Satchwell has said the amendment could seriously damage the press.
The Daily Telegraph has been fined £80,000 for publishing a ‘modified’ photo of the victim of footballer Adam Johnson’s sex crime. Following this verdict, media lawyers have warned that the next national newspaper found guilty of identifying the alleged victim of a sexual assault is likely to face a six-figure penalty.
Associated Newspapers, the publishers of the Daily Mail, has warned that the Press Recognition Panel’s (PRP) call that ‘urgent action’ is needed by the government to enforce Royal Charter press regulation, would be a breach of the European Convention of Human Rights. Zelo Street pointed out the hypocrisy of the publisher of the Daily Mail using the Human Rights to their advantage, when it is something that many journalists in the paper constantly criticise.
The CPS has issued new “Guidelines on prosecuting cases involving communications sent via social media“. We had a post about these by Amber Melville-Brown.
Commenting on the new guidelines, Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders has said that Internet who create derogatory hashtags or doctored images to humiliate others could face prosecution in England and Wales. Speaking to Radio 4’s Today Programme, Saunders said that
“The internet’s not an anonymous place where people can post without any consequences. People should think about their own conduct. If you are grossly abusive to people, if you are bullying or harassing people online, then we will prosecute in the same way as if you did it offline.”
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have all halted access by data gathering app, Geofeedia, used by law enforcement. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) blogged about the social media sites using the app, and view them cutting its access as a privacy victory.
Data Protection and Data Privacy
The ICO has issued a £400,000 penalty to TalkTalk for security breaches, and emphasised the technical steps companies must take to discover such security vulnerabilities. The RPC blog has said that the record fine is an indication that the new Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, is looking to take a robust approach to enforcement ahead of the introduction of the GDPR in May 2018.
The European Commission has drafted new cybersecurity rules, to protect machines from cybersecurity breaches.
A private investigator who pleaded guilty to breaches of the Data Protection Act has received fines totalling €7,500 at Tuam District Court in Galway, Ireland. Michael Ryan admitted to obtaining access to personal information held by the Department of Social Protection while he was employed by a firm of solicitors acting on behalf of Allied Irish Banks (AIB) and Bank of Ireland.
Surveillance and Information Gathering
The House of Lords voted strongly in favour of an amendment to the Investigatory Powers Bill to give specific recognition to privacy as “a fundamental priority”. According to the agreed amendment, the proposed new legislation will be framed as setting out “the extent to which certain investigatory powers may be used to interfere with privacy”.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
Roy Greenslade in the Guardian has questioned whether IPSO was the reason for a correction published in the Daily Mail. The correction was printed after the family complained because a Northern Ireland man who was shot in the back by a British soldier was wrongly described as a killer.
IPSO has found that the Daily Express violated clause 1 of the Editors’ Code, Accuracy, in an article entitled “Missing Briton, 19, sparks international man hunt after failing to get on flight”.
A privacy complaint made by a swinger against the Daily Star was not upheld by IPSO. Lynn Pearce made the complaint about an article entitled “Euro 2016: Swingers hosting couples sex parties to bonk while watching England”, as she claimed that the newspaper had accessed a swingers website which was for paid members only, however IPSO found that anyone with an account could access her details therefore it did not constitute an invasion of her privacy.
Last week in the Courts
On 10 October 2016, was an application in the case of Lokhova v Longmuir before Warby J. Judgment was reserved.
On the same day there was a pre-trial review in the case of Ur-Rahman v ARY Network Ltd, before Sir David Eady. Judgment was reserved.
On 12 October 2016, there was an application in the case of Ibe v Ndulor to adjourn the trial, listed for this week. The application was successful.
19 October 2016, James Cameron Memorial Lecture: Gideon Rachman, City University.
9 November 2016, Information Law and Policy Centre’s annual workshop and lecture. To register for the afternoon workshop this Eventbrite page. To register for the evening lecture this Eventbrite Page.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
In the case of Capilano Honey Ltd v Dowling  NSWSC 1441 Davies J made further orders requiring the defendant to remove material from a website.
Last week we mentioned the case of Douglas v McLernon (No.4)  WASC 320 in which Kenneth Martin J in the Supreme Court of Western Australia awarded three businessmen $700,000 in damages against a blogger and former private detective, Terry McLernon. There was a report about the case in the West Australian. The Judge used the long-running case to warn that people were wrong to assume the laws of defamation did not apply to the Internet.
A Danish court ordered two large Danish media outlets and 40 bookstores across the country not to publish or sell a book based on interviews with Denmark’s former domestic intelligence agency chief, Jakob Scharf. However, on 11 October 2016, the Intelligence Agency announced that it was withdrawing the injunctions
Tathagata Satpathy, a member of India’s main opposition party, is leading an online campaign to decriminalise defamation in the country. “Criminal defamation can lead to people being put in jail for something they have said publicly. This law needs to be replaced by a modern, progressive law,” reads the statement on the campaign website.
The sister and niece of former Irish presidential candidate Dana Rosemary Scallan will be unable to proceed with defamation actions against her if the court requires them to provide security for her legal costs, Dublin’s High Court has been told. If the court grants the former presidential candidate orders requiring Susan Stein and Susan Gorrell provide the €425,000 security she is seeking, their cases will be at an end, their counsel Jim O’Callaghan SC said. “The objective here is to try to kill the proceedings.”
The High Court of Ireland has refused to order the disclosure of documents RTÉ, the national public service broadcaster of Ireland, who says it needs to defend a defamation case brought by Senator David Norris. Norris is claiming he was defamed in an interview with journalist Helen Lucy Burke on Liveline radio programme in 2011, when he unsuccessfully ran for the Presidency of Ireland.
A District Judge and his wife have obtained injunctions preventing two members of a group calling itself the “Anti Corruption Taskforce” from picketing their home or the wife’s place of business.
The Osaka High Court has dismissed an appeal filed by Defense Minister Tomomi Inada in a defamation lawsuit against a magazine. Inada had sought compensation for an article that linked her to an anti-Korean group known for hate speech.
Calls have been made for Scotland and Northern Ireland to reform their defamation laws. In a recommendation in a submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council working group’s Universal Periodic Review of the UK, Article 19 and England Pen said that Scotland and Northern Ireland should either incorporate the Defamation Act 2013 in their own legislative systems or introduce new laws to address the chill on freedom of expression enabled by the existing out-dated libel laws.
In all Africa, Ndimara Tegambwage has called Tanzania’s proposed Media Law a ‘legal trap’.
Donald Trump is threatening legal action against the New York Times and People magazine for stories exposing Donald Trump’s long alleged history with sexual assault. Constitution Daily has questioned whether presidential candidates can sue media outlets for defamation, and assessed the likelihood that Trump’s case will succeed.
Kim Kardashian is taking legal action against a publication that claims that she had faked her Paris heist and lied about getting robbed at gunpoint.
Research and Resources
- Speech, Privacy and Dignity in France and in the U.S.A.: A Comparative Analysis, Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Review, Vol. 38, p. 101-182, 2016, Ioanna Tourkochoriti, Harvard Law School
- The Future of Self-Regulation is Co-Regulation, The Cambridge Handbook of Consumer Privacy, From Cambridge University Press (Forthcoming), Ira Rubinstein, New York University (NYU) – Information Law Institut
- First Amendment Fora Revisited: How Many Categories Are There? NSU Shepard Broad College of Law Research Paper, Marc Rohr, Nova Southeastern University – Shepard Broad College of Law
Next Week in the Courts
On 17 October 2016, there will an assessment of damages in the case of Undre & anr v The London Borough of Harrow, before Sir David Eady.
On 19 October 2016, the Supreme Court will hand down judgment in the case of R (Ingenious Media) v HMRC.
On 20 October 2016, there will be an application in the case of Denman v Associated Newspapers.
The following reserved judgments in media law cases are outstanding:
CG v Facebook Ireland Limited, heard 4 and 5 April 2016 (Morgan LCJ, Gillen and Weatherup LJJ)(Northern Ireland Court of Appeal).
Begg v BBC, heard 27 to 30 June, 1 July 2016 (Haddon-Cave J)
Lokhova v Longmuir, heard 10 October 2016 (Warby J)
Ur-Rahman v ARY Network Ltd, heard 10 October 2016 (Sir David Eady).