The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog

Law and Media Round Up – 5 June 2017

This week saw the publication of the Civil Justice statistics for the Royal Courts of Justice 2016.  These show a 17% decrease in the number of issued defamation claims from 2015 to 2016, from 135 down to 112.  We will have a post on this later in the week.

Coincidentally, Thomson Reuters released its analysis of the numbers of “reported” defamation cases – that is, the number of cases in which judgments have been given and reported on one of the online paid services. According to Thomson Reuters there were 58 such judgments, down from 63 in 2015.  We have, on a number of occasions, expressed doubts on a number of occasions about the value of analysis based on the number of judgements (see our posts on the 2015, 2012 and 2011 research by on behalf of Thomson Reuters).

With the General Election taking place this week the Information Law and Policy centre blog has collected some blog posts on the General Election manifestos which deal with information law and policy.  These post include

The Privacy International Blog has a post “Hiding in plain sight – political profiling of voters.”

Byline is continuing its investigation into phone hacking at the Sun with pieces entitled

Internet and Social Media

The Guardian reports that an alliance of news publishers has called on European regulators to rethink proposed eprivacy laws, arguing that they will potentially kill their digital businesses

A report entitled “An assessment of the Commission’s Proposal on Privacy and Electronic Communications” has been published.  This was requested by the EU Parliament’s LIBE committee.  The study assesses whether the proposal would ensure that the right to the protection of personal data, the right to respect for private life and communications, and related rights enjoy a high standard of protection.

The Social Media Law Bulletin has a post about an advisory opinion from the Indiana Commission of Judicial Qualifications to the effect that tweeting court proceedings does not constitute “broadcasting” (which is prohibited).

The same blog has a post about the decision in Charalambopoulos v. Grammer, permitting expert evidence as to how information is disseminated on social media.

There is also post a discussing the liability of WhatsApp group administrators for members content – offering some practical advice for those who set up such groups.

It is reported that Facebook has condemned the proposed German “anti-hate speech” social media law.

The Socially Aware blog has a round up of this week’s social media news

The Hoot has a post entitled “The Crisis in social media: where are we headed?

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The Irish Times reports that Irish Court has asked the US government about a recent US court finding that intelligence agencies did not comply with US law and the effect this would have on EU citizens’ privacy.

The Information Law and Policy centre blog has published the Open Rights Group’s submission to the Law Commission’s consultation on “Official Data Protection”.

The Information Commissioner has warned business to prepare for the GDPR, which comes into force in 12 months’ time.


The Cyberleagle blog has a post entitled “Squaring the circle of end to end encryption

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The Byline journalism festival took place in Sussex this weekend.  There was a report in the Press Gazette.  Co-organiser Peter Jukes had a piece in the Huffington Post, “How Byline Festival plans to Fight Back against Fake News”.

The Media Reform Coalition has a post on Election coverage by Justin Scholsberg entitled “Distorted debates, vacuous interviewing techniques and more fake news in the Telegraph”.

The Guardian has a piece entitled “Trump, fake news, and shrinking newsrooms: does journalism still matter in 2017?” by Margaret Simons.

The Zelo Street blog has a post on the sacking of Katie Hopkins by MailOnline.

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

There were no statements in open court last week

Last week in the Courts

Last week was the legal vacation and there were no media law cases to report.


5 June 2017, “Responding to the WannaCry Attack: The Future of UK Cybersecurity Policymaking,” Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR

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

6 July 2017, IPSO Annual Lecture, John Whittingdale, 6pm Church House, Westminster.

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


Rebel Wilson’s defamation trial against the publisher of Woman’s Day entered its second week. The plaintiff denied misleading the Court concerning claims that her film career was over.


In the case of Leduc v Houda-Pepin 2017 QCCQ 5661 (French) the Quebec Court has awarded a former mayor Can$24,000 damages against a political opponent for a libel during a provincial election campaign in 2014.


The Hoot has a post about the judgment in Primero Skill & Training Pvt Ltd vs Selima Publications Pvt Ltd which held that a newspaper report of the contents of a criminal complaint were privileged from action in defamation.


The Irish Times reports that the High Court has imposed a condition of payment of €50,000 on a proposed appeal by Sunday World against a libel judgment against it in favour of Brian Nolan.  Judgment was given last week against the newspaper in the sum of €310,000.

There is an article in the Irish Times by Hugh Linehan entitled “Who is responsible for defamation on Facebook?”

New Zealand

A judge has heard closing submissions in the defamation case of Colin Craig v Cameron Slater.  Judgment has been reserved.


Opposition politician Alexei Navalny has been ordered to delete a Youtube video after a court held that it included libellous claims about Alisher Usmanov. He has indicated that he will refuse to do so.

United States

NPR reports on the so-called “pink slime” libel case between Beef Products Inc and ABC News will take place in a South Dakota state court this week.

It is reported that a Federal Judge has dismissed a $12m defamation claim brought against Katie Couric by a gun rights group.  There was also a report on Courthouse News.

It is reported that the owners of the Russian bank, Alfa Bank, have commenced defamation proceedings against BuzzFeed over the dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and President Putin.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 7 June 2017 there will be an application in the case of Brown v Bower & anr

On 8 June 2017 there will be applications in the cases of Alsaifi v Amunwa and Todary v W1 Cars Ltd.


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)

1 Comment

  1. daveyone1

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

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