On Monday and Tuesday 27 and 28 February 2017, Warby J will hear the much anticipated trial in the case of Jack Monroe v Katie Hopkins. We had a case preview.
The case concerns an allegedly defamatory tweet. Ms Hopkins, formerly of the Sun and now of the Daily Mail (@KTHopkins, 679,000 followers) will not be giving evidence but the Court will hear from the claimant, Jack Monroe (@MxJackMonroe, 87,000 followers).
The cross-party House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee has issued a report [pdf] which strongly criticises the press for is failure to comply with the recommendations of the Leveson Report and has urged the Government to set a deadline for compliance. The Committee has also said that the Government should proceed with Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry.
The NUJ has backed the recommendations of the Committee. Hacked Off called the submission “the latest indication that Parliament is running out of patience with the Government’s interference in press regulation.” We had a post about it written by Brian Cathcart. Zelo Street criticised the Guardian for not reporting about this in a post entitled “Guardian abandons press abuse victims again.”
Radio host and former TV star Justin Lee Collins is suing The Sun for up to £50,000 in libel damages over a story claiming he was fired from a radio station for making sexist remarks about female co-workers.
Sky Sports News presenter Kirsty Gallacher is suing The Sun for libel damages of up to £100,000 over a story headlined: “Thirsty Kirsty TV collapse“.
Internet and Social Media
The Swedish Patent and Market Court of Appeal has ordered The Pirate Bay and Swefilmer to be blocked.
Michael Geist has said that Google’s submission to the Register of Copyrights as part of the review of the DMCA notice-and-takedown system points to massive fraud in search index takedown notices.
Socially Aware has summarised the biggest stories in social media this week.
Data Protection and Data Privacy
The Conseil d’Etat, the highest French administrative court, has sought a preliminary ruling from the CJEU on a series of questions concerning the implementation of the right to be delisted.
The RPC privacy blog has a post about a couple in Scotland who have been awarded £17,000 in damages for distress caused by a neighbour’s CCTV surveillance.
The Guardian reports that the Home Secretary has ordered police forces to delete on request millions of images of innocent people unlawfully retained on a searchable national police database.
The Article 29 Working Party has this week issued guidance surrounding EU-US Privacy Shield (Privacy Shield) related complaints.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
Football 360 commented on a Sun front page, which dealing with the sacking of Sutton reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw for eating a pie during Sutton’s match with Arsenal, in its ‘Mediawatch’ section. Zelo Street has blog post entitled ‘Guido Fawked – Pie Stunt Backfired.’ on the same issue.
Hacked Off and victims of press abuse have called for Sun Associate Editor Trevor Kavanagh to be sacked from the board of IPSO after IPSO found that he had written false and misleading figures about child asylum seekers, and that The Sun had failed to provide a promised correction when it was pointed out.
Zelo Street has also published a blog post about Kavanagh entitled ‘Sun pundit’s lies exposed.’
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
There were no statements in open court this week.
The BBC has apologised and paid “substantial” libel damages after suggesting that a founding member of the Muslim Council of Britain had advocated lynching Salman Rushdie.
Last week in the Courts
On 21 February 2017 there was a hearing before Warby J dealing with consequential relief following the judgment in Holyoake v Candy. An extempore judgment was given.
On 23 February 2017, there was an application in Candy v Holyoake before Warby J. Judgment was reserved
On the same day Garnham J handed down judgment in the case of ZXC v Bloomberg LP  EWHC 328 (QB) refusing an order that certain material be taken down from the defendant’s news website.
8 March 2017, “The Bubble Reputation: Protecting, Inflating, Deflating and Preserving it”, Information Law and Policy Centre, IALS, 6pm to 8pm.
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”
28 April 2017, “Conference on Freedom of Expression Online,” Nicosia, Filoxenia Conference Centre, Cyprus
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
Journlaw blog has outlined some of the lessons that can be learnt from the Yahoo!7 case, where the company was fined $300,000 for contempt of court over a publication which triggered the discharge of a jury in a murder trial.
On 1 February 2017, the Court of Appeal for Ontario handed down judgment in the case of The Catalyst Capital Group Inc. v. Veritas Investment Research Corporation, 2017 ONCA 85 allowing an appeal against the striking out of an allegation that a defamatory report was distributed to unknown third parties.
On 25 February 2017, the Novia Scotia Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal against the award of damages in the case of Marson v Nova Scotia, 2017 NSCA 17
A Danish appeals court has upheld a defamation ruling and a 10,000-krone fine given to the Danish People’s Party, a populist party which supports the centre-right government.
John Mayer in the Irish Independent has criticised the unpredictably of defamation juries and the impact that this has on the news media, particularly looking at the case of damages awarded to a truck driver who was awarded damages after being involved in a fatal collision in Waterford.
Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga is seeking defamation damages from the Standard Group for allegedly publishing libelous stories about his divorce case.
The former editor of In-Nazzjon, Nathaniel Attard, has been ordered to pay €3,000 in libel damages to Leo Brincat, former Minister of the Environment and now a member of the European Court of Auditors.
Seven of the ten pending criminal libel cases in Malta are against journalists, and three of these seven cases were instituted by public officials.
A blog post by journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was ruled to not be defamatory against Mark Gaffarena since it was based on facts that were “substantially correct.”
On February 2017, the Court of Appeal of Northern Ireland gave judgment in the case of Coulter v Sunday Newspapers Ltd [pdf], (heard 19 December 2016). The appeal was allowed on the basis that to describe someone as “a Scrooge” was a comment, not a statement of fact. A retrial was ordered. There was a report of the appeal in the Irish News.
Wildcat Haven Enterprises (WHE) CIC, a conservation company, has filed a defamation claim against Green MSP Andy Wightman with costs so high he risks bankruptcy.
It has been reported that a judge has rejected the owner of Real Madrid’s libel claim against football newspaper AS after suggestions that his team’s player decisions were made because of possible business deals his construction company could get.
The newest version of Melania Trump’s defamation claim she has filed against the Daily Mail leaves out a controversial portion of the original — a section that argued the first lady’s earning potential as a brand spokeswoman would be irretrievably damaged by the defamation.
An Oklahoma jury has ordered a former state legislator to pay $4.3 million to an insurance company in a defamation case.
Michael Masnick, the founder of Techdirt blog, has asked a court for a defamation claim against him to be thrown out. The claim was filed by Shiva Ayyadurai, a scientist and entrepreneur who claims to have invented e-mail in 1978 while at a medical college in New Jersey, over comments on the blog claiming that this is false.
A Superior Court judge is to rule on whether to place a gag order against a mortgage broker accused of using electronic billboards across New Hampshire to sully the reputation of three prominent Manchester businessmen.
Buzzfeed faces $11 million in defamation damages in a case against journalist Michael Leidig and Central European News (“CEN”) after publishing an article entitled “The King of Bullsh*t News” and subtitled “How a small British news agency and its founder fill your Facebook feed with stories that are wonderful, wacky — and often wrong.”
Eric P. Robinson in Blog Law Online calls fake news “a real dilemma for the law.”
Research and Resources
- Jordan’s dilemma: Can large parties still be intimate? Redefining public, private and the misuse of the digital person. Marion Oswald, Information & Communications Technology Law, 26:1, 6-31
- Protecting Sources and Whistleblowers in the Digital Age, The Information Policy Law and Policy Centre
- MsLods, Law+Tech Round up, 19 February 2017
- The Weaponized Lawsuit against the Media: Litigation Funding as a New Threat to Journalism, 66 Am. U. L. Rev. 761 (2017), Lili Levi, University of Miami – School of Law.
- Conceptualizing Online Social Networking Privacy Concerns , Nan Zhang, Chong (Alex) Wang, Elena Karahannaand Yan Xu, University of Jyväskylä – Computer Science and Information System, City University of Hong Kong, University of Georgia – C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business and Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) – HKUST School of Business and Management.
- Het ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ En Bijzondere Persoonsgegevens: Geen Ruimte Meer Voor Een Belangenafweging? (The ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ and Sensitive Personal Data: No Room for Balancing?), Frederik J. Zuiderveen Borgesius, University of Amsterdam – IViR Institute for Information Law (IViR)
- The Land of Confusion: International Data Transfers between Schrems and the GDPR . Tobias Bräutigam and Samuli Miettinen (eds), ‘Data Protection, Privacy and European Regulation in the Digital Age’ (Helsinki, 2016), Tobias Bräutigam, University of Helsinki
Next Week in the Courts
As already mentioned, on Monday and Tuesday 27 and 28 February 2017, Warby J will hear the trial in the case of Monroe v Hopkins.
On 1 and 2 March 2017 there will be a two day data protection trial in the case of Stunt v Associated Newspapers Limited.
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).
Lisle-Mainwaring v Associated Newspapers heard 12 December 2016 (HHJ Moloney QC).
PNM v Times Newspapers, heard 17 and 18 January 2017 (UK Supreme Court)
Flood v Times Newspapers, Miller v Associated Newspapers and Frost v MGN, heard 24, 25 and 26 January 2017 (UK Supreme Court).
Hourani v Thomson, heard 1-3, 6-10 and 13 February 2017 (Warby J)
Candy v Holyoake, heard 23 February 2017 Warby J).
This post was compiled by Georgia Tomlinson who is a researcher.