On 1 May 2017 the Home Affairs Select Committee released a report criticising social media companies for failing to tackle illegal and dangerous content. The Committee recommended that the Government should assess whether failure to remove illegal material is in itself a crime and, if not, how the law should be strengthened.
There were news stories about the report across the media – for example, in the Press Gazette and the Guardian. We had a post arguing that automated censorship is not the answer to extremism.
Meanwhile Kevin Marks had a post reminding readers that the problem was not confined to social media companies: “Newspaper firms must face heavy fines over extremist content – MPs” was a parody of the Guardian report on the Committee Report, substituting “Newspapers” for “Social media companies”.
As noted on Inforrm last week, the Judge in charge of the Media and Communications List, Warby J is consulting on a number of procedural questions. The closing date is 31 May 2017.
The Brett Wilson Media Law Blog notes the defamation proceedings issued against Nigel Farage by the charity “Hope not Hate”.
Internet and Social Media
The investigative platform “Exposing the Invisible” has released a pack of resources for citizen journalist and activists to learn how to use social media for their investigations. This is the subject of a post on openDemocracy.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
In the case of R (P) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 321, the Court of Appeal held that the revised statutory scheme for the disclosure of convictions required further amendment as its operation in individual cases remained deficient. There was a discussion of the decision on the Hawktalk blog.
On 4 May 2017, the CJEU gave judgment in the Rīgas case (C-13/16) dealing with how “legitimate interests” provide a basis for processing personal data. The case is discussed on the European Data Protection Digest.
The Panopticon Blog has a post on the implications for privacy practitioners of the Digital Economy Act 2017 (which was given Royal Assent on 27 April 2017)
Press Gazette has a piece by Cleland Thom on the journalistic exemption under the GDPR entitled “Journalistic exemption from the Data Protection Act under threat from EU law change”
A UNESCO report “Protecting Journalism Sources in the Digital Age” has been published. This is the subject of a post on the Information Law and Policy Centre blog.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
The Chairman of the Bar has suggested that justice is not being seen to be done because press seats in courts are almost always empty.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
On 3 May 2017 there was statement in open court read before Warby J in the case of Hiranandani-Vandrevala v Times Newspapers Ltd.
Last week in the Courts
The trial in the case of Guise v Shah was heard by Dingemans J on 2 to 5 May 2017 and is part heard. The trial will continue on 8 May 2017.
The trial in Sooban v Badal was adjourned to Trinity Term.
On 4 May 2017, Master McCloud gave judgment in the case of Zahawi v Press TV  EWHC 1010 (QB) [pdf]. The claimant, a former Conservative MP and general electiojn candidate, was awarded £200,000 damages over an allegation that he helped fund Islamic State. There was a report of the case on the BBC website and a note on the 5RB website. We will publish a case note shortly.
On 5 May 2017 there was a hearing in the case of Sir Cliff Richard v BBC. Towards the end of the hearing the Judge was told that the parties had a agreed a one month stay to discuss settlement.
The appeal in the case of Brevan Howard Asset Management v Reuters Ltd has now been listed to be heard on 28 or 29 June 2017.
The claimant in the case of Stunt v Associated Newspapers has lodged an application for permission to appeal.
Please let us know if there are any media and law events which you would like us to list.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
The Daily Telegraph has settled a libel claim by Australia’s grand mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohammed arising out of an article claiming that he had not condemned the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks.
A Tasmanian Supreme Court judge has offered a highly critical assessment of the standards of legal commentary on judicial sentencing on social media platforms.
In the case of Kazakoff v Taft 2017 BCSC 737, the defendant New Democratic party politician was ordered to pay the plaintiff animal rights activist general and aggravated damages of Can$75,000. There was a report of the judgment in the Vancouver Sun.
The now French president Emmanuel Macron has filed a complaint over a remark by Marine Le Pen implying that he had an offshore Caribbean account.
The former Attorney-General Anil Nandlall is suing the current holder of the office, Basil Williams, for an allegation that law reports for personal use were bought with public funds.
In the case of Tosiba Appliances v Toshiba (1 May 2017 [pdf]) dismissed a 1998 defamation claim but directed the defendant to publish an apology within 6 weeks. The judge suggested that an apology was more appropriate than compensation in a defamation case.
In a piece on Stuff.co.nz Vernon Small argues that a ruling on qualified privilege in the course of the Hagaman v Little trial has expanded the common law defence of qualified privilege – arising out of a politician’s duty to hold the government to account.
In the case of Mabuza v Phosa  ZAGPPHC 139, a defamation claim brought by Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza against the former ANC treasure Matthew Phosa was dismissed by the High Court in Pretoria. There was a report on News24.
The lawyers for Buzzfeed in ‘King of Bullshit News’ libel case have accused the Press Gazette of running ‘utterly false story’ concerning an application for access to emails/
Research and Resources
- Getting SLAPPed: Defamation and Your Blog Volume 37, Issue 3, Online Searcher, at 13, May/June 2013, 1, George H. Pike, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.
- Legal Issues: Creative Law and Section 230, George H. Pike, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
- Legal Issues: The Right to Be Forgotten, George H. Pike, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law,
- Privacy in the Sharing Economym Giulia Ranzini, Michael Etter, Christoph Lutzand Ivar E. Vermeulen, VU University Amsterdam, Copenhagen Business School, BI Norwegian Business School and VU University Amsterdam
Next Week in the Courts
The trial in Guise v Shah before Dingemans J will continue on Monday 8 May 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 (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)