The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog

Law and Media Round Up – 12 June 2017

The press reacted “with shock” to the general election result.  The sustained personal attacks of the Sun, Mail and Express on Jeremy Corbyn failed to persuade the voters to support the Conservative Party.

We had a post entitled “The election wot The Sun (and the rest of the UK tabloids) never won” and Zelo Street had one called It’s The Sun Wot Lost It.

The Media blog has pointed out how papers such the Daily Mail and the Sun have ‘disowned’ Teresa May after Thursday’s election results.

Despite spending £1.2 million on anti-Jeremy Corbyn social media adverts the Tories were unable to gain support from younger voters in the same way that Labour did. In fact, as the Guardian reported, Labour’s use of social media to ‘motivate voters, rather than to attack the Conservatives’ was regarded as playing a key role in their success, according to digital strategists on both sides.

A new report suggests that the BBC is in violation of its Charter, Election Guidelines and the Broadcasting Code in its regular reporting of newspaper coverage on major bulletins and news programmes.

Counterfire has published its top 10 examples of media bias in this election.

The LSE Media Policy Project had a series of posts: Labour’s advertising campaign on Facebook (or “Don’t Mention the War”) and Is the Conservative Party deliberately distributing fake news in attack ads on Facebook?

In the case of R v Markham and Edwards ([2017] EWCA Crim 739) the Court of Appeal upheld the order of Haddon-Cave J permitting the press to name Kim Edwards and Lucas Markham, 15 year olds, who were convicted of the murder of Ms Edwards’ mother and sister.  The case was widely reported in the media after the Court’s decision, see for example, The Guardian and the BBC.

Carmarthenshire council chief executive Mark James pursued a counterclaim against blogger Jacqui Thompson for defamatory remarks she posted online, and a Freedom of Information request shows the council paid £29,414.08 in 2012 for Mr James’s legal fees in this case. The BBC has reported that none of this has been repaid and that the council will not chase James for the money.

In Scotland the BBC has successfully argued for permission for its journalists to continue sending Twitter messages from the trial of Craig White, the businessman accused of having bought Glasgow Rangers football club through fraud.

Internet and Social Media

 Social Media Law Bulletin has investigated some of the legal issues involved in the use of Chatbots.

The Socially Aware blog had a post on regulatory developments affecting social media use  in the United States.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The Information Law and Policy Centre has re-published the joint response submitted by the Campaign for Freedom of Information and Article 19 to the Law Commission’s consultation on ‘Official Data Protection’.

PeepBeep has examined the proposal to extend the Audiovisiual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) and the opinion published in the case C‑434/15 Asociación Profesional Elite Taxi v Uber Systems Spain SL.

Privacy, Security and Information Law blog has published a guidance on the newly codified position of data protection officer (“DPO”).

The European Commission is pushing for a greater role for the EU in cybersecurity.


A former intelligence contractor is suing ex-FBI chief James Comey, claiming the bureau is covering up widespread surveillance on Americans.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

Dominic Ponsford in Press Gazette has suggested that Theresa May’s poor performance in Thursday’s election puts ‘tougher press regulation back on the table.’

Press Gazette also put forward the proposal that newsdesks should collaborate to avoid approaching the families of terror victims multiple times.

Mail Online has removed a video showing schoolgirls attacking another child after receiving a complaint from the mother of one of the assailants.


The Press Gazette reports that IPSO has found that the Sun did not breach the Editors’ Code when it used undercover filming to expose a police officer who was alleged to be selling sex.  The decision is dated 19 May 2017.

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

There were no statements in open court last week

Last week in the Courts

On 7 June 2017 there was an application in the case of Brown v Bower & anr before Warby J.  Judgment was reserved.

On 7 June 2017 judgment was handed down in the case of Woodward v Grice ([2017] EWHC 1292 (QB) The claimant was the in-house solicitor at Blackpool Football Club.  He was awarded £18,000 in damages over an online post by fan Andrew Grice that falsely described him as ‘struck off’. Mr Grice has said that he faces bankruptcy after the  being ordered to pay the £18,000.

On 8 June 2017 there was an application in the case of Alsaifi v Amunwa before Warby J.  There was an ex tempore judgment.

On the same day there was an application in the case of Todary v W1 Cars Ltd before the same judgeThere was an ex tempore judgment.


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


In the case of Al Muderis v Duncan (No.3) [2017 NSWSC 726, Rothman J assessed damages in the sum of Aus $480,000 to a surgeon against a former patient and another individual who had engaged in a campaign of vilification against him.  There was a news story about the case on

In the case of Gim v Byeon [2017] NSWDC 136 Gibson DCJ dismissed a claim for slander arising out of words spoken to a journalist in a restaurant due to a “fatal variance” between the words complained of and the words proved to have been spoken.

In the case of Watney v Kencian & Anor [2017] QCA 116 the Queensland Court of Appeal allowed an appeal from findings of a jury on meaning on the ground that the findings were such that no reasonable jury could have reached them and substituted its own findings.  A trial on qualified privilege and honest opinion was ordered.  There was a news story about the case in the Brisbane Times.

Rebel Wilson’s lawyer has said that her motivation for filing her defamation claim was to restore her damaged reputation.

A defamation claim has also been filed against Wilson by a Bauer Media journalist after a Twitter rant she published last year.

Mark Pearson has published his submission to the Select Committee on the Future of Public Interest Journalism on Journlaw.


 The Supreme Court of Canada will not hear an appeal filed by political commentator Ezra Levant over a 2014 libel judgment against him.

The Canadian government has put the the ability to sue for damages under Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) on hold.

Canada is on the verge of repealing its blasphemy libel law, which it has had since 1892.

Taseko Mines is seeking to appeal a 2016 ruling that an environmental organization’s criticism of their mining project did not constitute defamation.


The Hoot has published an opinion piece about the ‘increasingly divided media’ in India.


An Israeli court has ordered a journalist to pay more than $25,000 in damages to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara for libelling them.

New Zealand

Former leader of the Conservative Party Colin Craig has said that he is unlikely to proceed in his defamation case against his former press secretary, Rachel MacGregor.

United States

A trial has begun in South Dakota over a meat processer’s claim that it was defamed by ABC News reporting called its product “pink slime”.

Donald Trump’s social media director, Dan Scavino Jr., has been found by government ethics officers to have violated the Hatch Act when he published a tweet disparaging Republican Justin Amash.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

We are not aware of any media law cases in the English courts this week.  Please let us know about any cases listed to be heard. 


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)

Brown v Bower, heard 7 June 2017 (Warby J)

1 Comment

  1. daveyone1

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

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