This is the second in our series of “Summary Round Ups” covering media and law developments during the Summer Legal Vacation. This covers matters since our Round Up of 21 August 2017.
The long awaited judgment in Lachaux v Independent Print (the hearing was on 29 and 30 November and 1 December 2016) on “serious harm” under section 1 of the Defamation Act 2013 will be handed down on Tuesday 12 September 2017. Our comment on the first instance decision in July 2015 is here.
The Times report concerning the placement of what they described as a 5 year old “Christian” girl with a muslim family generated substantial media comment. Much of the original story turned out to be false or misleading. Several blog posts analysed the decision and background in some detail with the excellent Transparency project providing the fullest coverage, in particular:
The most secretive court in all of Christendom – Transparency Project Reporting Watch (reposted on Inforrm)
A large number of complaints have been made to IPSO about the story but it seems unlikely that any action with be taken (as “third party complaints” are not permitted and the 5 year old is unlikely to complain). As Zelo Street put it in a characteristically hard hitting comment, “IPSO Impotent”.
The TGI de Nanterre in Paris has awarded the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge €100,000 damages against Closer Magazine over long lens photographs of the Duchess sunbathing on a terrace published in September 2012. Damages of €3,000 were awarded against regional newspaper La Provence which republished the images. The editor and publisher of Closer were both fine the maximum of €45,000.
The decision was widely reported in the press. In the Guardian Afua Hirsch suggested that it was not much of a victory and, for the magazine, was probably a price worth paying.
On 1 September 2017, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, Lord Justice Fulford, took on responsibility [pdf] for regulating and overseeing the use of investigatory powers. The Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office has a website and a twitter feed (@IPCOffice).
Media Law Judgments
On 5 September 2017 the Grand Chamber of the Court of Human Rights handed down judgment in the case of Barbulescu v Romania  ECHR 754. The decision of the Chamber (see our post here) was reversed and it was held that there was a violation of Article 8.
On 7 September 2017 the Court of Appeal of Northern Ireland handed down judgment in the case of J20 v Facebook Ireland. The damages of £3,000 were reduced to £500. A Summary of the judgment [doc] has been published.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
In the case of X v Y and Z  NSWSC 1214 Pembroke J extended orders against foreign defendants to restrain the publication of confidential information on various platforms and websites.
In the case of Windsor Energy v Northrup, the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick has held that comments made by a former cabinet minister concerning seismic testing were true and could not form the basis of a tort claim.
It is reported that the former finance minister, Marco Archer, has obtained an interim injunction against a blog post which he alleges is defamatory.
A libel claim by the Attorney-General of Northern Ireland, John Larkin QC, against a former UUP leader, Tom Elliott has been settled.
Sarah Palin’s defamation case against the New York Times was dismissed by Federal Judge Jed S Rakoff who said, in his judgment, “Negligence tihs may be; but defamation of a public figure it plainly is not“. The New York Times said that decision was “an important reminder of the country’s deep commitment to a free press“. In a comment Professor Jeffrey McCall suggested that the case showed that shoddy journalism was legal but should not be the norm.
Research and Resources
- Beyond Free Speech: Novel Approaches to Hate on the Internet in the United States, Journal Information & Communications Technology Law, Volume 18, 2009, doi.org/10.1080/ 13600830902808127, Jessica S. Henry, Montclair State University.
- Image Rights and Data Protection, NUS Law Working Paper No. 2017/010, Number of pages: 21 Posted: 25 Aug 2017, David Tan, National University of Singapore (NUS) – Faculty of Law.
- Search Engines and the Right to Be Forgotten: Squaring the Remedy with Canadian Values on Personal Information Flow, Andrea Slane, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Legal Studies
- Hate Speech, Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law (Oxford University Press, 2017 Forthcoming), Uladzislau Belavusau, T.M.C. Asser Institute – University of Amsterdam.
- ‘And Yet it Moves’ — The First Amendment & Certainty. University of Washington School of Law Research Paper, Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, Vol. 45, No. 2, 2017, Ronald K. L. Collins. University of Washington – School of Law..
- From Cyberpunk to Regulation – Digitised Memories as Personal and Sensitive Data within the EU Data Protection Law, Journal of Intellectual Property, Information Technology and Electronic Commerce Law (JIPITEC), Vol. 8(3), Forthcoming, University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 40/2017, 16 PagesPosted: 28 Jul 2017Last revised: 22 Aug 2017, Krzysztof Kornel Garstka, University of Cambridge