This was the week in which the United Kingdom gave its (possible revocable) notification under Article 50. The Press Gazette looked at the coverage by the UK papers. The Guardian had a piece about reactions on both sides of the Channel.
The Daily Mail, whose editor was entertained at a private dinner at No.10 in October 2016, had the single word headline “Freedom”. Its tasteless piece about the legs of the Prime Minister and the First Minister of Scotland attracted widespread criticism. Amelia Womack, the deputy leader of the Green Party, has complained to IPSO about the front page story, along with around 300 other people. The Mail has responded to critics by telling them to “get a life.” Hacked Off has published a blog post in response to these events entitled “Legs-it? Get a Life? Get a Better Regulator.”
Nine new claims for compensation have been issued in the High Court by alleged victims of phone-hacking said to have been carried out at the News of the World. The claimants include actor David Tennant and ex Formula One driver Eddie Irvine.
Hold the Front page has a post about the ZXC decision entitled “The future of the ‘journalism exemption’”.
The Schillings website as has piece by Allan Dunleavy, “Fake News isn’t new news”
Internet and Social Media
In her media column in the Guardian Jane Martinson has examined the current conflict between Rupert Murdoch and Google, calling it a “far from a straightforward battle of good v evil.”
A South African Court has given a former estate agent five days to correct the employment information on his LinkedIn profile.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
Dataonomy has published a Data Protection News Round-Up.
FieldFisher’s Privacy, Security and Information Law blog has published a post in the wake of Teresa May’s triggering of Article 50 this week examining the future of UK data protection law after the UK leaves the EU.
The French Data Protection Authority has published its annual Activity Report.
The ICO has issued fines totalling £220,000 against two nuisance marketing firms.
In the wake of the media’s reactions to the Westminster terrorist attacker’s use of the internet, Paul Bernal has published a blog post entitled ‘the internet, privacy and terrorism.’
The Information Law and Policy Centre has published a special issue of the Communications Law journal based on papers submitted for their annual workshop last November.
Eva Blum-Dumontet has written a post for Privacy International’s website about government’s battles against encryption.
The Guardian has pressed the Metropolitan police to disclose if the emails of its reporters and photographers have been illegally accessed by a secretive Scotland Yard unit.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
Dominic Ponsford in the Press Gazette has called the decline of local journalism a ‘far greater threat to media plurality than Rupert Murdoch.’
Zelo Street blog has published a post entitled Andy Coulson’s Payday REVEALED
IPSO has ruled that the Mail Online’s use of unverified quotes in a story about a pilot who was denied entry to Chinese airspace in a self-built plane was “significantly misleading”.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
There were no statements in open court this week.
Last week in the Courts
On 27 March 2017 there was a costs hearing in the case of Bains v Moore before Sir Michael Tugendhat.
On the same day Warby J handed down a judgment dealing with permission to appeal in the case of Monroe v Hopkins  EWHC 645 (QB). He held that the application for permission to appeal was out of time. This decision was the subject of a number of reports including in the Press Gazette and the Independent
On 30 March 2017 Sir David Eady handed down judgment on the damages assessment case of Harrath v Stand for Peace  EWHC 653 (QB). Damages of £140,000 were awarded against the defendant (which made no appearance at the hearing). There was a news piece in Middle East Eye about the case.
4 April 2017, “The Commonwealth and Challenges to Media Freedom” conference at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies
28 April 2017, “Conference on Freedom of Expression Online,” Nicosia, Filoxenia Conference Centre, Cyprus
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
Mark Pearson on Journlaw has given an update on the case of Zoef v Nationwide News Pty Ltd.
Lloyd Rayney’s brother-in-law has testified that he still believes that Rayney killed his wife Corryn. Her father, Ernest da Silva, has also given evidence in the case, and has denied telling police he suspected her husband Lloyd had killed her.
In a review Business News 24 has called Media and Cyber Laws in Bangladesh an ‘essential book’ for anyone working in the media.
The Supreme Court of Canada has granted permission to appeal in the case of Goldhar v. haaretz.com, which will address key issues of jurisdiction in online defamation cases.
The mayor of Lantzville, Vancouver Island, and two councillors have filed a libel claim against three former councillors. The former councillors allegedly launched a campaign to discredit the current ones, saying that they were acting inappropriately in their roles as elected public officials.
Michael Geist has argued that Canada needs to safeguard online privacy rules in the upcoming The North America Free Trade Agreement renegotiation.
Anthony Furley in the Toronto Sun has said that ‘now is the time to eliminate Canada’s old blasphemy law.’
A comment piece in the Hoot has questioned what recourses ordinary people have when they are libelled by some of the country’s biggest newspapers, after a story published in a number of national English language newspapers.
Actor Shilpa Shinde has filed a defamation claim against three film and TV associations.
In the case of Sunday Newspapers v Gilchrist and Rogers  IESC 18, the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Sunday Newspapers against an order that part of a libel claim brought by individuals responsible for administering the Witness Protection Programme could be heard in private. There was a report about the decision in Irish Legal News.
The court of appeal has dismissed an appeal in a libel claim filed by far-right writer Norman Lowell against MaltaToday. The claim was filed after three newspaper reports that Lowell’s followers had been behind a string of arson attacks on journalists and charities.Malta
Labour MP Franco Mercieca has argued in Parliament that the maximum fine for civil libel cases should be increased to over €20,000 as a means to prevent journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia from publishing false and damaging stories.
Minster for Education Evarist Bartolo has told Parliament that the the proposed Media and Defamation Act, which he had presented, will not only strengthen the power of journalists but will also look to ensure responsible journalism.
Ibrahim Magu, acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, has written a letter to the publisher of the Sun Newspaper in Abuja seeking compensation after statements made about him in an article entitled “Magu Under Fresh Probe over 2 Abuja Mansions” which he says are libellous.
A Taiwanese court has acquitted former President Ma Ying-jeou in a libel case. Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Ker Chien-ming had filed a libel and leaking confidential information claim against him alleging that the then-president leaked information from a wiretapped conversation featuring powerful Nationalist lawmaker Wang Jin-pyng.
Donald Trump is to claim presidential immunity in a defamation case brought against him by former contestant on the Apprentice who accused him of unwanted sexual contact. The Wrap has pointed out the hypocrisy of this given that Trump himself has filed seven libel claims in his lifetime, and that he said during his campaign that he wanted to “open up libel laws” to make it easier to take legal action against newspapers.
The House of Representatives has voted to block legislation enacted under President Obama which was designed to give consumers more control over how internet service providers share their data.
Benjamin Mullin in Poynter has reiterated the fact that despite his threats, Trump does not have the power to amend libel laws.
A North Carolina woman has paid $500,000 in damages in a defamation case over a single Facebook post.
Boxer Floyd Mayweather’s ex-fiancee’s defamation claim against him has been dismissed by a California appeals court.
Research and Resources
- Networked Privacy and Security, Jonathan Cave, University of Warwick.
- Flagging the Middle Ground: Combatting Old News with Search Engine Flags, Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law, Forthcoming, Hannah L. Cook
- Are Anti-Bullying Laws Effective?, Cornell Law Review, Vol. 103, Forthcoming, Ari Ezra Waldman, New York Law School
- Not Just One, But Many ‘Rights to Be Forgotten’. A Global Status Quo. Geert van Calster, Elsemiek Apersand Alejandro Gonzalez Arreaza, K.U. Leuven, KU Leuven, Institute for International Law, Students and KU Leuven, Institute for International Law
- Post-Snowden Internet Policy: Between Public Outrage, Resistance and Policy Change, Media and Communication, 5(1), 1-6, Julia Pohleand Leo Van Audenhove, WZB Berlin Social Science Center and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) – IBBT-SMIT.
- Extremist Speech and Compelled Conformity, Notre Dame Law Review, Forthcoming, U of Maryland Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-12. Danielle Keats Citron, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
- Commercial Free Speech – A Critical Reconsideration Australian Journal of Asian Law, Vol. 17, No. 2, article 2, 2016, Richard Cullenand Kevin K.S. Tso. The University of Hong Kong – Faculty of Law and Independent
- The New Governors: The People, Rules, and Processes Governing Online Speech , Harvard Law Review, Vol. 131, Forthcoming, Kate Klonick, Yale University, Law School, Students
Next Week in the Courts
The only hearing next week we are aware of is an application for permission to appeal in the case of Stocker v Stocker on 5 April 2017.
The following reserved judgments after public hearings in media law cases are outstanding:
Mionis v Democratic Press heard 27 October 2016 (Gloster, Sharp and Lindblom LJJ).
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).
Stunt v Associated Newspapers, heard 1 and 2 March 2017 (Popplewell J)
EZE Group Ltd v Taylor Marshall Ltd, heard 23 March 2017 (Sir David Eady)
This post was compiled by Georgia Tomlinson who is a researcher.