The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog

Law and Media Round Up – 15 May 2017 [Updated]

The General Election campaign is beginning to gain momentum with a leak of the draft Labour Manifesto.  Nevertheless, as Loughborough University reports, Theresa May has dominated press coverage so far.

The Labour Party manifesto pledges to implement the recommendations of the Leveson Report and to begin Part 2 of the Inquiry.  It also pledges a “national review” into the local press.

The Conservatives have said that they want to give people the power to demand that social media sites delete material that was posted when the user was under eighteen.

A group of academics and experts coordinated by the Media Reform Coalition has called for international monitoring of the upcoming election.

The Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power has produced a comprehensive report [pdf] on media coverage of the Brexit campaign.  We had a post about this.

Ukip MEP Jane Collins could face bankruptcy after she failed to pay damages to Rotherham’s three Labour MPs over remarks she made about the town’s child abuse scandal.

Internet and Social Media

Social Media Law Bulletin has examined the enforcement of IP law on crowdfunding platforms.

Socially Aware blog has summarised the week´s developments in social media.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The ICO has released its annual performance statistics for 2016/17.  It records that there were 300 new cases from people who had asked search engines to remove results about them under the current ‘right to be forgotten’ and that, in one third of cases the ICO asked for search engines to take action to remove links.

The EU has announced that it is setting up a ‘multi-stakeholder expert group’ to assist the EU Commission in understanding the potential challenges posed by the application of the GDPR.

The Advocate General Szpunar (AG) has delivered his judgement in the case C‑434/15 Asociación Profesional Elite Taxi v Uber Systems Spain SL.

Panopticon has examined Camera di Commercio v Manni and the ‘right to be forgotten.’


The Home Office has launched a consultation on a critical step in the implementation of the Investigatory Powers Act (IPAct): the regulations on technical capability notices.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The editor of the Ceredigion Herald has been ordered to pay £3,650 in fines and compensation after publishing an article containing information likely to identify a sex offence victim. It is his second criminal conviction for breaching court reporting restrictions.

Campaigners have warned that proposed reforms to the Official Secrets Act, or “Espionage Act,” could see journalists jailed for receiving information available under the Freedom of Information Act.

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

On 9 May 2017 there was statement in open court [pdf] read before Warby J in the case of Pierdant v Guardian News and Media Ltd.  We had a post about this statement.  There was a report in the Coventry Telegraph and on the 5RB website.

Last week in the Courts

The trial in Guise v Shah before Dingemans J was heard on Monday 8 May 2017 and concluded on 11 May 2017.  Judgment was reserved.

On 12 May 2017 Warby J heard an application in the case of Suresh v Samad & ors. Judgment was reserved.  This was an application for permission to amend by the third defendant which was dismissed.  An ex tempore judgment was given. A short report is available on Lawtel [£] [Update]


6 July 2017, “The Legal Challenges of Social Media,” Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR

26 February 2018, “Global Internet and Jurisdiction Conference,” Ottowa, Canada.

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 New Daily has said that the Murdoch family stands to be the biggest winner from the new Australian media reforms that have been announced.

In the case of Milne v Ell [2017] NSWSC 555 Rothman J awarded the plaintiff, the Mayor of Tweed, Aus$45,000 damages over an allegation that she was not a fit and proper person to be a councillor following an earlier successful libel claim by the defendant against the claimant. There was a news report of the judgment.

Michael Bachelard has published an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald calling free speech the “looser in Australia´s defamation bonanza.” In another article in The Age he calls defamation law a bigger threat to free speech than anti-discrimination law.


An Austrian court has ruled that Facebook must remove hate speech from its site.


The Alberta legislature has passed a bill to provide civil remedies for victims of the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.

Gerry Taft, the National Democratic Party candidate for Columbia River Revelstoke, has said that he is considering appealing the defamation ruling in his case against Devin Kazakoff.

Norm Emblem, Zev Smith and Josh Shneer have published an article on the International Law Office blog entitled Libel in the age of the Internet: click with caution.


The Hoot has examined TV news presenter Arnab Goswami’s comments about Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, and how they might illustrate that defamation is “toothless.”

The Hoot has also released its annual report on free speech issues in India.


A solicitor who was awarded €140,000 in a defamation case against TV3 has had his damages reduced to €36,000 by the Court of Appeal.

A circuit court judge has awarded damages of €25,000 each to a Gaelic Athletic Association player and his father after an internet post accused the player of telling ‘blatant lies’ in court.


Minister of Education, Youth and Information Ruel Reid has said that the government is considering regulation of social media.


Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has said he will file a defamation claim against Matthew Caruana Galizia, the journalist and son of Malta Independent columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia, over a series of Facebook posts that suggest that Muscat took money from the sale of Maltese passports.

Nexia BT managing partner Brian Tonna has denied he used falsified letters of references to open bank account in a libel case against the Malta Independent.

New Zealand

Former leader of the conservative party Colin Craig has begun his defamation case against Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater and the company that owns Slater’s blog. Craig claims he was ‘ridiculed and vilified’ and that his reputation was dragged through the mud. Many of the statements relate to Mr Craig’s relationship with his former press secretary Rachel MacGregor, and Craig has read out a personal letter he wrote to MacGregor in court, where he says that he physically desired her but had resisted kissing her. Slater´s lawyer has played tape that included a radio interview in which Slater said that Craig was a “ratbag” and “his eyes are too close together”.

We draw attention to the judgment in the case of Williams v Craig [2017] NZHC 724 – setting aside the jury’s damages award of $1.27m and ordering a retrial.

Public figures have expressed surprise that New Zealand still has anti-blasphemy laws.

South Africa

Mineral Commodities Ltd has filed a defamation claim against environmental lawyers and a community activist.

United States

A California patient privacy case has reached the state´s Supreme Court.

CEN news agency has had its bid to obtain a summary judgement in its libel case with Buzfeed rejected by a New York Court.

An anti-Trump protestor has filed a defamation claim against Fox News alleging that the channel falsely linked him to voter fraud.

The family of murdered Dallas lawyer Ira Toblowsky have been awarded $5.5 million in a defamation case.

The Murray Energy Corporation has filed a libel claim against the New York Times over accusations made in an editorial accusing the company´s founder of lying about the cause of a deadly mine collapse.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 15 May 2017 Dingemans J will hear the trial in the case of Collier v Openwork Ltd.  The trial is listed for 4 days.

On 16 May 2017, there will be an application for permission to appeal and a stay in the case of Lokhova v Tymula


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)

Guise v Shah, heard 2-3, 5, 8 and 11 May 2017 (Dingemans J)

Suresh v Samad, heard 12 May 2017 (Warby J) [Update]


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