This is the last Law and Media Round Up of 2016. The Michaelmas Legal term ends on Wednesday 21 December 2016 and the next legal term, Hilary 2017, will not begin until 11 January 2017.
This week it has been confirmed that Rupert Murdoch‘s company 21st Century Fox has formally lodged its £11.7 billion bid to take full control of Sky. A petition asking Culture Secretary Karen Bradley to call in Ofcom to investigate the deal has already received over 100,000 signatures. The petition was started by the Media Reform Coalition.
Ed Miliband and Vince Cable have also called for the bid to be halted because of James Murdoch’s continued role in his father’s media empire. Vanessa Baird in the New Internationalist blog has reported about reactions to the deal from the Media Democracy festival, and has called Rupert Murdoch “only part of the problem.”
The Internet Policy Review has published an article on ‘Why we should support the “European Charter of digital fundamental rights”’.
A defamation case brought by the owners of Blackpool Football Club against a fans website has been dropped.
The Heatstreet blog has a post about the case of Hourani v Thomson a defamation claim brought by Lebanese-born businessman Issam Hourani relating to the death of Anastasiya Novikova, a news presenter for NTK channel in Kazakhstan, who died violently a decade ago. The Particulars of Claim and Defence are available on this site.
It has been reported that Gordon Anglesea, the retired police superintendent who won £375,000 libel damages after being branded a paedophile (see our post here) has died in prison weeks after he was jailed for sexually abusing boys.
MP Nadhim Zahawi is set to be paid damages by Press TV, an organisation affiliated to the Iranian state broadcaster, after he successfully sued them over claims he facilitated the sale of oil between ISIL and Israel.
Germany is to consider new laws that would force social media platforms such as Facebook and search engines such as Google to take a more active role in policing illegal hate speech on their sites.
The National Law Review has produced an Infographic with facts about social media in 2016.
Data Protection and Data Privacy
Datonomy has examined top 10 points to note in the leaked draft proposal of the European Commission’s (EC) new ePrivacy Regulation.
The Minister for Digital and Culture has spoken in the adjournment debate on GDPR, revealing that the government is still undecided about what to do about Brexit and the GDPR.
The Deputy Information Commissioner Simon Entwistle has released a statement in response to the Yahoo hack.
France has adopted a new regime for privacy class actions.
The Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice has published the draft Implementation Bill General Data Protection Regulation (“Implementation Bill”)
Freedom of Information
Article 19 has held the ‘Freedom of Information at 250‘ event at the Free Word Centre, commemorating and examining the adoption of the first freedom of information law in Sweden and Finland in 1766.
Surveillance and Information Gathering
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal will rule that Cleveland Police acted unlawfully by grabbing the phone records of two former police officers suspected of giving information to the Northern Echo.
Cyberleagle blog has a Christmas Quiz about the Investigatory Powers Act 2016.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
Hacked Off has pubished a Guide on how to Respond to the Government’s Consultation on the implementation of the Leveson Report.
Last week in the Courts
On 12 December 2016 there was a strike out application in the case of Lisle-Mainwaring v Associated Newspapers before HHJ Moloney QC. Judgment was reserved.
On 13 and 14 December 2016, the trial in Holyoake v Candy took place before Warby J. Judgment was reserved.
On 14 December 2016, Sir David Eady made an order under section 12 of the Defamation Act 2013 – requiring the defendant to publish a summary of his judgment in the case of Shakil-Ur-Rahman v ARY Network Ltd & Anor  EWHC 3110 (QB). This is the first order made under this provision and was the subject of a report on the 5RB website.
On 15 December 2016, Warby J handed down judgment in Flymenow Ltd v Quick Air Jet Charter GmbH, ( EWHC 3197 (QB)). He rejected the defence of justification but awarded damages of only £10 as a result of the claimant’s conduct. There was a case report on the 5RB website.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
In the case of Mosslmani by his tutor Karout v DailyMail.com  NSWDC 357 the District Court dismissed most of the claims brought by Ziggi Mosslmani, the Sydney teenager who has sued three newspaper outlets for defamation after they mocked his mullet.
The Parliament of Canada Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics has issued the result of its study of the Privacy Act.
Jet airways has filed a defamation suit against investigative reporter Josy Joseph after he wrote about the alleged links between gangster Dawood Ibrahim and the airline company in a book published earlier this year.
The Chairman of the Press Council, Justice Prasad, has expressed his views on a number of topics including press freedom at an event at the Mumbai Press Club.
A High Court judge has heard the pre-trial matters in the defamation proceedings brought against RTÉ by businessman Declan Ganley. Ganley has claimed that a 2008 RTÉ Prime Time programme defamed him in using words or innuendo which, he alleges, meant he had links to organised crime.
An appeals court has ruled that the managing editor of Smash television, Jesmar Baldacchino, was not responsible for damages over disparaging remarks made by a sports commentator against a referee during a football broadcast in March 2010.
A court has thrown out a libel suit filed by Silvio Scerri, formerly chief of staff to Minister Manuel Mallia, against TV presenter John Bundy, today chief executive officer at PBS.
A police employee has taken defamation action over comments made about her in internal memos by a senior police officer.
Former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Sport Ashwin Creed has been awarded close to half-million dollars in compensation after a High Court judge found yesterday he suffered damage to his reputation due to the publication of a “reckless” and “irresponsible” newspaper report three years ago.
Melania Trump has attended a hearing in her libel case against a Maryland blogger apparently to show how serious she is about the case.
A New York lawyer has gone to court to unmask an anonymous person who on Google gave him a one-star review that solely said “it was horrible.”
Socially Aware has examined the “decline and fall of Section 230” in 2016.
Noah Feldman in Bloomberg has looked at how libellous fake news might be dealt with in America.
Research and Resources
- Satire in Defamation Law: Toward a Critical Understanding, Review of Litigation, Vol. 35, No. 1, 2016, Jeff Todd.
- Risk and Anxiety: A Theory of Data Breach Harms Daniel J. Solove and Danielle Keats Citron, George Washington University Law School and University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.
- The Golden Age of Personal Data: How to Regulate an Enabling Fundamental Right?, Institute for Information Law Research Paper No. 2016-06, M. Oostveen and K. Irion, “The Golden Age of Personal Data: How to Regulate an Enabling Fundamental Right?,” in Bakhoum, Conde Gallego, Mackenordt, Surblyte (eds.), Personal Data in Competition, Consumer Protection and IP Law – Towards a Holistic Approach? (Berlin, Springer, 2017), Forthcoming, Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2016-68, Manon Oostveen and Kristina Irion, Institute for Information Law (IViR) and University of Amsterdam.
- Privacy, Free Expression And Transparency: Redefining Their New Boundaries in the Digital Age UNESCO Series on Internet Freedom, 2016, Joseph A. Canataci, Bo Zhao, Gemma Torres Vives, Shara Monteleone Jeanne Pia Mifsud Bonnici and Evgeni Moyakine, University of Groningen – Faculty of Law, University of Groningen, Independent, European Commission-Joint Research Centre-Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, University of Groningen and University of Groningen – Faculty of Law.
- Court Transparency and the First Amendment, Cardozo Law Review, Forthcoming, UNC Legal Studies Research Paper, Forthcoming, David S. Ardia, University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill – School of Law.
Next Week in the Courts
We are not aware of any media law cases listed for hearing this week. However, it seems likely that a number of reserved judgments will be delivered. We are aware that, on Wednesday 21 December 2016 the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal will hand down judgment in the case of CG v Facebook Ireland Limited which was heard on 4 and 5 April 2016
The following reserved judgments in media law cases are outstanding:
Mionis v Democratic Press heard 27 October 2016 (Gloster, Sharp and Lindblom LJJ).
Otuo v Watchtower Bible and Tract Society 8 November 2016 (Chancellor, Gloster and Sharp LJJ).
Lisle-Mainwaring v Associated Newspapers heard 11 November 2016 (HHJ Parkes QC).
Lachaux v Independent Print. heard 29 and 30 November and 1 December 2016 the Court of Appeal (Macfarlane, Davis and Sharp LJJ).
His Highness Prince Moulay Hicham Ben Abdullah Al Alaoui of Morocco v Elaph Publish Limited, heard 30 November 2016 (Patten, King and Simon LJJ).
A & B v Persons Unknown. heard 9 December 2016 (The Chancellor)
Lisle-Mainwaring v Associated Newspapers heard 12 December 2016 (HHJ Moloney QC).
Holyoake v Candy, heard 13 and 14 December 2016 (Warby J).
This post was compiled by Georgia Tomlinson who is a researcher.