The steady stream of settlements in phone hacking and illegal information gathering cases has continued this week. On Thursday 5 October 2017 we reported on statements in open court in the cases of Steve Coogan, Sienna Miller and Jamie Theakston.
On Friday 6 October 2017 there was a Statement in Open Court [pdf] in the case of Ian Hurst and News Group Newspapers Limited and others. Mr Hurst was a former member of British Military intelligence. In 2006 his computer and emails were hacked and information was passed to the News of the World. The News of the World accepted liability for this and agreed to pay him substantial damages.
The settlement was reported by the Guardian, the BBC and in the Press Gazette. Hacked Off commented that the fact that this admission was made more than 6 years after the allegations were made was a clear indication that Leveson Part 2 should take place.
On 10 October 2017 Ofcom will appear before the DCMS Committee. It is expected the session will cover the Fox/Sky merger, BBC regulation, and the impact of Brexit.
Hold The Front Page has a post on the falling away of automatic anonymity accorded to the victims of sexual offences who are convicted of perjury.
Internet and Social Media
The German Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) – a federal law on better law enforcement in social networks – entered into force on 1 October 2017. The purpose of the law is to ensure that social media platforms remove hate speech within 24 hours in simple cases or within 7 days if the case is more complex. There is a report on TechCrunch. The OSCE has criticised the law as being too broad. The OSCE Legal Report on the law can be found here.
The Austrian Social Democrats have asked Facebook to disclose the identities of those behind sites which they say are spreading libel in an attempt to clean up a smear campaign scandal ahead of an election on 15 October 2017.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
Robin Hopkins has done an overview of the Data Protection Bill for Practical Law.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
There were a number of statements in open court last week in the phone hacking litigation. We had a post on the statements made in the MGN litigation and we have already dealt with the statement in open court [pdf[ in Hurst v NGN.
Last Week in the Courts
On 5 October 2017 the Court of Appeal (Gross, Simon and Peter Jackson LJJ) heard the appeal in Bukovsky v CPS. Judgment was reserved.
On 6 October 2017 Whipple J handed down judgment in the case of Al-KO Kober Ltd & Anor v Balvinder Sambhi (t/a Torquebars)  EWHC 2474 (QB). The judge granted an interim injunction malicious falsehood and an order under the Data Protection Act 1998 in respect of videos on the defendant’s YouTube channel.
The Court of Appeal has refused permission to appeal in Lachaux v Independent. This application will, presumably, now be renewed to the Supreme Court.
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 Plymouth Brethren (Exclusive Brethren) Christian Church v Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd; Plymouth Brethren (Exclusive Brethren) Christian Church v The Age Company Pty Ltd  NSWSC 214 McCallum J dismissed a claim for defamation on the basis that the words complained of were not capable of identifying the plaintiffs.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that A Canberra public servant and “yes” advocate is taking legal action against the official “no” campaign vehicle, the Coalition for Marriage, alleging it defamed her by depicting her as an “extremist”.
A new “shield law”, the Journalistic Source Protection Act, has been passed to protect journalists and their sources from search warrants and police surveillance. This new law was welcomed by the OSCE. There is a report on Vice News Canada.
On October 5, 2017, the Nova Scotia Liberal government introduced a new bill to replace the former Cyber-safety Act, which was struck down as unconstitutional (a “colossal failure”, said the judge). The Intimate Images and Cyber-protection Act is the result of a serious re-think of all the defects found in the Cyber-safety Act. There is a report on the Canadian Privacy Law Blog.
The President of Gambia, Ali Bongo, has succeeded in a libel action against a French journalist who wrote a book insinuating that he was behind two attempts to assassinate a close aide to his father, the former President. The journalist was fined €1,000 and ordered to pay symbolic damages of €1. Other parts of the action were dismissed.
The High Court has decided that Channel 4 is entitled to claim journalistic privilege over sources for a TV programme which Ryanair says is defamatory.
The High Court has also ruled that a rape victim can sue the State over disclosure of her address to her attacker.
The Irish Times reports that the High Court has referred to the CJEU questions as to the validity of the EU Commission’s decisions on standard contractual clauses in the context of Facebook’s EU-US data transfer action.
The Times of Malta reports that a voice coach, Gillian Camenzuli Kerr, has been awarded damages of €500 over defamatory comments made in the course of a conversation between two Facebook users via Messenger.
In the case of Sellman v Slater  NZHC 2392, the blogger Cameron Slater (Whale Oil), public relations man Carrick Graham and former MP Katherine Rich failed in an application to strike out a libel claim by three health experts. There is a Newsroom report and one in the Otago Daily Times.
Three Russians named in the Trump dossier are suing the private investigation firm Fusion GPS for libel over the handling of the dossier.
The Washington Post has a piece about Harvey Weinstein’s threatened libel action against the New York Times pointing out the difficulties that such an action would face.
Blog Law Online has a post entitled “Charlottesville, the First Amendment and the Press” concerning tolerance for hate speech.
Research and Resources
- Multiple Publication and Online Defamation, Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology Vol. 6.1 (2012) 35, Ursula Connolly, School of Law, NUI Galway
- Internet Intermediary Liability in Defamation: Proposals for Statutory Reform, Hilary Youngand Emily Laidlaw, University of New Brunswick – Fredericton – Faculty of Law and University of Calgary, Faculty of Law.
- Pricing Privacy – the Right to Know the Value of Your Personal Data, Malgieri, G., and Custers, B. (2017) Pricing privacy: the right to know the value of your personal data, Computer Law & Security Review, Gianclaudio Malgieriand Bart Custers, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Faculty of Law and eLaw – Center for law and digital technologies.
- Informed Consent in Social Media Use – The Gap between User Expectations and EU Personal Data Protection Law, Custers B.H.M., Hof S. van der, Schermer B.W., Appleby-Arnold S., Brockdorff & N. (2013), Informed Consent in Social Media Use. The Gap between User Expectations and EU Personal Data Protection Law, Script-ed: A Journal of Law and Technology 10(4): 435-457, Bart Custers, Simone van der Hof, Bart Willem Schermer, Sandra Appleby-Arnold and Noellie Brockdorff, eLaw – Center for law and digital technologies, Leiden University – Leiden Law School, Leiden Law School, University of Malta – Department of Cognitive Science and University of Malta – Department of Cognitive Science.
- Police Photography and Privacy: Identity, Stigma and Reasonable Expectation, University of New South Wales Law Journal, Vol. 36, No. 1, 2013, Jake Goldenfein, Swinburne University of Technology.
- 100 Years of Open Justice in Family Law Proceedings in Australia, Legal History, Volume 16, No. 2, 2016; ISBN 978-1-925588-18-7, Adiva Sifrisand Sharon Rodrick, Monash University – Faculty of Law and Monash University – Faculty of Law.
- Free Speech as a Special Right, Philosophy and Public Affairs Volume 45, Issue 2 Spring 2017 Pages 87–117 , Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper 2017-56 (submitted version), Leslie Kendrick, University of Virginia School of Law.
- The Classic First Amendment Tradition Under Stress: Freedom of Speech and the University, Yale Law School, Public Law Research Paper, Robert Post, Yale Law School
Next Week in the Courts
We are not aware of any media law cases being heard by the Courts this coming week.
The following reserved judgments after public hearings in media law cases are outstanding:
R (News Media Association) v Press Recognition Panel. 29 and 30 June 2017 (Rafferty LJ and Popplewell J).
Washington-Carty v Fisher, heard 14 July 2017 (HHJ Moloney QC)
David v Hosany, heard 20, 21 and 24 July 2017 (HHJ Moloney QC)
Bukovsky v CPS, heard 5 October 2017 (Gross, Simon and Peter Jackson LJJ)