Law and Media Round Up – 6 November 2017

6 11 2017

The biggest story of the week is the continuing exposure of alleged sexual harassment and related wrongdoing by politicians and film producers. A curious “spreadsheet” relating to Conservative MPs has appeared on Twitter.

The company appears to have refused to block its publication. The allegations are largely of (unspecified) “inappropriate” conduct with males and females with little in way of allegations of criminal wrongdoing.

No 5 Chambers has a briefing entitled “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. What does the law actually say?

Eccentric commentator Peter Hitchens weighed in with a piece in the Mail on Sunday with the title ““What will women gain from all this squawking about sex pests? A niqab”.  The Huffington Post and Zelo Street have critical comments on the article. Zelo Street also has a post about the Daily Mail’s attacks on MPs who have complained about harassment.

The second day of the House of Lords Data Protection Bill Committee Stage takes place in the House of Lords on 6 November 2017.  The House will consider, among other things, amendments to the “journalistic exemption” in Schedule 2, paragraph 24 (the equivalent of section 32 of the Data Protection Act 1998)(Amendments 86A onwards in the Second Marshalled List [pdf[)

The Guardian and a number of other newspapers round the world have begun publishing the results of their investigation into what they are called the “Paradise Papers”.  This is said to be a cache of 13.4 million documents stolen from two offshore law firms which are said to reveal “secrets of world elite’s hidden wealth”.  However, as the BBC (one of the partners in the investigation) sayThe vast majority of transactions involve no legal wrongdoing”.

Independent Print Ltd and Evening Standard Ltd have applied to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal in Lachaux v Independent Print ([2017] EWCA Civ 1334).  The Grounds of Appeal are available here.

Internet and Social Media

The Huffington Post has a piece entitled “Google, Facebook, Twitter and Tech Must Abide by Media Curbs” arguing that it is time to rein in unsupervised tech media.

Research by the Pew Center suggests that 67% of US adults get at least some of their news on social media.  There is a post about the research on the Social Media Law Bulletin.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

Verso Group (UK) Ltd, trades in personal information which describes itself as ‘the UK’s Premier Lead Generation Provider’ has been fined £80,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).  There is a post about the penalty on the ICO’s blog.

The Brett Wilson Media Law blog has a post about the hack of the London Bridge Plastic Surgery by hackers calling themselves “The Dark Overlord”.

Digiday UK has a post entitled “The winners and losers of the EU’s new ePrivacy law”

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

A survey carried out for the BBC suggests that tabloid newspapers are ranked bottom when it comes to accuracy, impartlality and trust – below Facebook and Twitter.  There are pieces about this survey on the Press Gazette and Zelo Street.

Zelo Street also has a post about the Times “Muslim Fostering” story – following the release of a statement by Tower Hamlets Council which appears to demonstrate that the original article was misleading and inaccurate.

Byline has two reports on the case of Sheridan v News Group Newspapers – morning and afternoon. Judgment was reserved. Mr Sheridan is claiming interest on the £200,000 defamation damages which he was awarded in 2006 and were paid in May 2017.

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

There were no statements in open court last week. 

Last Week in the Courts

The trial in Serafin v Malkiewicz began on 30 October 2017 before Jay J and continues next week.

The trial in the case of Mark Lewis Law Ltd v Taylor Hampton Ltd continued on 30 and 31 October 2017 before Moulder J.  Judgment was reserved.  The Claim Form and Particulars of Claim in this case are available on Lawtel.

On 31 October 2017 Nicklin J handed down judgment in the case of Brown v Bower ([2017] EWHC 2637 (QB))(heard 17 October 2017).  He decided the meaning of the words complained of but, despite the agreement of the parties, declined to decide on defamatory tendency.  There is a One Brick Court case report.

On the same day Nicklin J also handed down judgment in the case of Soobhan v Bandal ([2017] EWHC 2638 (QB)) heard 18 to 20 October 2017). The claimant, who is a solicitor, was awarded damages of £70,000 against a newspaper over allegations which included incitement to commit perjury.  This is report about the judgment on Legal Futures.

On 2 November 2017 Warby J heard an application in the case of Hope Not Hate Ltd v Farage.  He gave an ex tempore judgment, ordering that there should be a trial of a preliminary issue on meaning and serious harm.

 On 3 November 2017 Warby J handed down judgment in the case of Optical Express Ltd & ors v Associated Newspapers Ltd, ([2017] EWHC 2707 (QB)) heard 24 October 2017).  The case concerned costs following the late acceptance of a Part 36 offer.

Events

6 November 2017 Freedom of Speech: Where Journalism and the Law Collide at the Boundary of 21st Century Debate, Long Hub Room Trinity College, Dublin (see also Eoin O’Dell’s post).

2 December 2017, Media Democracy Festival, Clore Management Centre, Malet Street, London WC1

5 December 2017,  The Family Court : Should privacy trump accountability?,  The Station, Silver Street, Bristol, BS1 2AG

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

Australia

As we mentioned in our update last week cricketer Chris Gayle was successful in his libel action against Fairfax media.  Mr Gayle’s barrister complained that the defendant’s claim that it did not get a fair trial caused further harm to his client’s reputation.  Damages have yet to be determined.

New Matilda has a piece concerning the Duffy v Google Inc case entitled “Google not feeling so lucky over Australian Defamation case”.

Canada

The Canadian Privacy Commissioner has issued a report on children’s educational apps.

The Canadian Privacy Law Blog has a post concerning the facilitation of access to justice under the new cyberbullying law.

Ireland

The Chairman of the Press Council of Ireland has said that the Irish press faces a two-pronged attack from the likes of Facebook and Google and the country’s own defamation laws.

Malta

The 19 libel cases brought by Silvio Debono against murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia have been adjourned to December.

Namibia

The Supreme Court has heard argument in a libel appeal by the Namibian newspaper against a libel damages award to presidential pilot Alois Nyandoro.  Judgment was reserved.

New Zealand

The Court of Appeal handed down judgment in the case of Hagaman v Little ([2017] NZCA 447)The appeal was dismissed because Mr Hagaman had died before it was heard. There is a report on Stuff.nz.

Nigeria

It is reported that the High Court has awarded Kingsley Kuku damages of N10 million against the Abuja Inquirer

United States

President Trump is seeking to have a defamation claim against him dismissed, arguing that the statement that women accusing him of sexual misconduct were “liars” is simply an expression of opinion.

Buzzfeed is seeking to have the defamation claim brought by journalist Michael Leidig dismissed because he has failed to give proper disclosure of emails and other computer data.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts 

The trial in Serafin v Malkiewicz will continue before Jay J on 6 November 2017.  It began on 30 October 2017 and is listed for 6 days.

On 7 November 2017 the trial of Jake Wallis Simons v Craig Murray will begin.  This is listed for 3 daysIt is a claim by a journalist against a former British diplomat arising out of words spoken in a Sky News Interview.  The claim was issued 17 September 2016. The Particulars of Claim are available on Lawtel.

Judgments

The following reserved judgments after public hearings in media law cases are outstanding:

Washington-Carty v Fisher, heard 14 July 2017 (HHJ Moloney QC)

David v Hosany, heard 20, 21 and 24 July 2017 (HHJ Moloney QC)

Mark Lewis Law v Taylor Hampton, heard 25-27 and 30-31 October 2017 (Moulder J).

 


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