weekly-updateThe Government’s deeply flawed “Consultation on the Leveson Inquiry and its implementation” closed on Tuesday 10 January 2017.  The consultation is the subject of a judicial review and the Government have undertaken not to take any action until this review is concluded.

Many interested parties published their consultation responses.  In favour of section 40 and Leveson 2 were the submissions of Hacked Off [pdf], Impress [pdf] and the Press Recognition Panel [pdf]. On the other side, the press trade body, the News Media Association has published its own submission and thirteen others opposing section 40 and Leveson Part 2.

It was reported that there had been 140,000 individual responses to this consultation.  In addition, a petition of 130,000 signatures supporting Leveson Part 2 was submitted. Bizarrely, the Daily Mail suggested that this showed that the majority of the British public wanted section 40 repealed – whereas opinion polls show the opposite.  This piece was dissected by the Zelo Street blog.

It was unsurprising that there were a large number of responses, the press having bombarded their readers with anti-section 40 propaganda for several weeks.  They have, however, been afraid to commission (or at least to publish) opinion polls on this issue.  Hacked Off commissioned a YouGov polls  – reported by the Press Gazette but not by the newspapers – showed that 57% favoured tougher press regulation and 40% felt that press behaviour had got worse since the Leveson Inquiry.  We had a post about this poll.

Sir Oliver Letwin – the Minister responsible for devising the Royal Charter backed system of press regulation – said that if the Government fails to enact section 40 it will face “tench warfare” in Parliament.  The Press Gazette suggested that the Government might have to adopt a section 40 compromise.

The Press Gazette has concluded that president-elect Donald Trump is “unlikely to sue” in the UK or US after BuzzFeed published a research dossier about him.

The Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) has published a report entitled ‘Ethics in the News: EJN Report on Challenges for Journalism in the Post-truth Era.’ [pdf]

The UN’s free speech advocate, David Kaye, has warned that British government plans to enforce age verification and some censorship of pornographic websites risk breaking international human rights law.

The London branch of Pakistani Network ARY Digital Group has filed for bankruptcy following the libel judgment entered against it in the sum of £185,000 on 2 December 2016.

BBC iPlayer has an interesting Radio 4 programme from Saturday 14 January 2017, “The Politician and the Judge“, presented by Geoffrey Robertson QC.

Panopticon has published a post on the case of J20 v Facebook Ireland Ltd [2016] NIQB 98 – the judgment in which was delivered on 20 December 2016 in Belfast. 

Social Media

The Socially Aware blog has a “list of lists” – developments in 2016 and predictions for 2017 which include:

Data Protection and Data Privacy

Hawktalk has explored why a post-Brexit UK is very unlikely to offer an adequate level of protection in terms of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Peep Beep has looked at the proposed ePrivacy Regulation that the European Commission (EC) has suggested should replace the existing ePrivacy Directive.

Peep Beep has also examined the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) judgement in the joint cases C‑203/15 Tele2 Sverige AB v Postoch telestyrelsen and C‑698/15 Secretary of State for the Home Department v Secretary of State for the Home Department.

The Belgian Data Protection Authority (the “Privacy Commission”) has launched a public consultation about its draft recommendation regarding data protection impact assessments (“DPIA”).

Google, Facebook Inc. and other Internet companies will be covered by strict new European Union privacy rules that seek to limit access to consumers’ data.

Francesca Petronio, Marilena Hyeraci and Sara Schiuma of Paul Hastings LLP have written a piece on Lexology on the guidelines on data protection officers adopted by Article 29 Data Protection Working Party.

Andrew Kimble and Peter Given of Bond Dickinson LLP have a piece on Lexology looking at the impact that Brexit will have on data protection.

Surveillance and Information Gathering

Ivan Manokha, Departmental Lecturer in International Political Economy at the University of Oxford, has examined ‘Why the rise of wearable tech to monitor employees is worrying’ in the Information Law and Policy Centre blog.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

iMedia Ethics has looked why BuzzFeed published the Trump Dossier, and why others didn’t.  We had a post about this entitled ‘The Trump dossier and verification in the era of fake news.’

 The Media blog has posted a piece entitled ‘The Express criticises “weather panic”… no really.’

Zelo Street has published a blog post entitled ‘Sun BuzzFeed Hypocrisy.’

IPSO has rejected the complaint of a man who said that the Belfast Telegraph portrayed his son as a ‘Nazi.’

Last week in the Courts

On 12 to 13 January 2017 there was an application in the case of Hourani v Thompson (which is listed for trial on 30 January 2017) before Nicola Davies J.  Judgment was reserved.


31 January 2017, Book Launch, Private Power, Online Information Flows and EU Law: Mind the Gap by Angela Daly, 50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP) on Tuesday 31 January (6-8pm) with Chris Marsden (Sussex) and Orla Lynskey (LSE) as discussants. Attendance is free, but RSVP essential, to emma@hartpub.co.uk or via this link.

24 March 2017, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom conference on Media Freedom in Strasbourg, entitled: “Promoting dialogue between the ECtHR and the media freedom community

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


On 21 December 2016, in the case of Jane Doe 1 and 2 v Dowling ([2016] NSWSC 1909) Campbell J granted an interim injunction to restrain a defamatory publication on a blog.  The injunction was continued on 23 December 2019 ([2016] NSWSC 1910).


Right-wing media personality Ezra Levant is fighting two libel cases over allegations of anti-semitism.


Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai is to face a criminal defamation case filed by a company against her, after the Supreme Court has disposed of her plea which sought clarification as to whether a private firm can file a criminal defamation case.

The Hoot has published a five-point test for journalists about how to minimise damage when they report hate speech.


A Syrian refugee whose selfie with German Chancellor Angela Merkel went viral is suing Facebook for defamation after the site failed to take down a series of comments which accused him of being a militant and a criminal.


Ingram Bondin in Malta Today has called for Malta to ‘tear down obscene and criminal libel laws,’ comparing them to other censorship laws which have already been repealed.

Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi has sued Justice Minister Owen Bonnici for libel over allegations that Azzopardi had interfered in the 2009 transfer of the land of the former Lowenbrau brewery.


Footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic has won a Swedish libel case after the country’s former track coach, Ulf Karlsson, accused him of doping during his time at Juventus.


Mark Grabowski in the Washington Examiner has argued that Donald Trump has grounds for a libel claim against BuzzFeed after they published a report about his alleged ties to Russia.

Ahmed Mohamed’s father, Mohamed Mohamed, has lost a libel claim he issued on his son’s behalf against Glenn Beck, Fox News and others. Ahmed Mohamed became famous in 2015 after he was arrested after bringing a homemade clock to school.

A Northern Irish priest who lives in the USA has issued a libel claim in Florida after he accused the Catholic Church there of orchestrating a child abuse cover-up.

The Wall Street Journal and casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson have settled a libel claim over a 2012 article that described him as “foul-mouthed.”


Information Communication Technology Minister Supa Mandiwanzira has issued a $7 million defamation claim against NetOne chief executive officer, Reward Kangai, claiming the latter defamed him in an article published in a local newspaper last year.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 16 January 2017, Sir David Eady will hear the PTR and applications in the case of Todary v W1 Cars Ltd.

On Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 January 2017, the Supreme Court will hear the appeal in the case of PNM v Times Newspapers.  We had a case preview.

On 17 January 2017, there will be an application in the case of Hopkins v McHue.

On 18 January 2017 there will be an application in the case of Suresh v Samad & Ors.

On 20 January 2017, there will an application in the case of Daryanani -v- Ramnani


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 Publishing Limited, heard 30 November 2016 (Patten, King and Simon LJJ).

Lisle-Mainwaring v Associated Newspapers heard 12 December 2016 (HHJ Moloney QC).

Holyoake v Candy, heard 13 and 14 December 2016 (Warby J).

Coulter v Sunday Newspapers, heard 19 December 2016 (Court of Appeal of Northern Ireland).

Hourani v Thompson, heard 12 and 13 January 2017 (Nicola Davies J).

This post was compiled by Georgia Tomlinson who is a researcher.