Law and Media Round Up – 20 November 2017

20 11 2017

The libel claim brought Hope not Hate against Nigel Farage settled this week – ahead of a hearing to deal with “serious harm” and “defamatory tendency”.  Mr Farage gave a contractual undertaking not to publish any allegation that Hope not Hate pretends to be peaceful when it in fact uses violent and undemocratic means to achieve its ends. 

Mr Farage also agreed to make a statement acknowledging that Hope not Hate did not tolerate or pursue violent or undemocratic behaviour.  However, no damages or costs were paid by Mr Farage. Hope not Hate issued a statement entitled “Hope not Hate Wins!”.  This was challenged by Mr Farage who pointed out that he had not paid damages or apologised.  Zelo Street had a post about the case entitled “Farage takes £100k libel hit”.

On 10 November 2017 a Court discharged the privacy injunction in the case of RJH v News Group Newspapers.  This had prevented the Sun from reporting the arrest of US tech investor Shervin Pishevar on suspicion of rape.  Information about the case was reported in the US in respect of proceedings Mr Pishevar had issued, and he issued a statement referring to the arrest. He said he was innocent of all allegations and had been the victim of a smear campaign.  As as result of this statement News Group applied to discharge the injunction.  There was a report on the 5RB website.

On 14 November 2017 Hacked Off staged its Fifth Annual “Leveson Lecture”.  This was given by Conservative peer, Baroness Warsi. A full transcript of the lecture can be found here.  She called for an inquiry into press Islamophobia and criticises government inaction on press abuse.  Unsurprisingly, the only national newspaper which reported on the lecture was the Guardian.  There was also a report in the Press Gazette.

On 20 and 22 November 2017 the House of Lords will continue the Committee Stage of the Data Protection Bill (Days 5 and 6).  The latest list of amendments can be found here [pdf].

Internet and Social Media

Socially Aware reports that Following a recent U.S. district court’s ruling, foreign companies operating cloud-based services may find themselves subject to federal long-arm jurisdiction under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 4(k)(2), even if they have no physical presence in the United States.

The SearchEngine land blog has a piece by Chris Silver Smith entitled “CEO who forged court order to get Google to remove defamation faces prison”.

Wired has a piece entitled “How One Woman’s Digital Life Was Weaponized Against Her

The Schillings website has a piece by Jenny Afia entitled “Trial by Social Media

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The Advocate-General has recommended that Max Schrems collective claim against Facebook should not proceed, saying he cannot represent other users.  There is a report on Courthouse News.  The A-G’s opinion is available here: Case C-498/16, Schrems v Facebook Ireland Ltd

The Panopticon Blog has a post about the recent A-G’s opinion in the Facebook fan page case (Case C-210/16) pointing out that opinion casts the net very wide, bringing multiple entities into the definition of data controllers.

The ICO blog has a post entitled “Personal data must be safe from prying eyes” mentioning recent convictions of NHS employees for prying into the medical records of friends, colleagues or other people without valid reasons.

The Guardian has a report about proposed amendments to the Data Protection Bill designed to protect children online.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The ABC Circulation figures for October show there has been an industry wide decline in print circulation figures, with Trinity Mirror titles being hit hardest.  The Metro is most read title, having overtaken the Sun earlier this year (1.472 million to 1.417 million, Mon to Friday).  The Guardian’s print circulation is down to 146,766.

The Press Gazette has a piece entitled “The Express was a repeat offender when it came to misleading press coverage ahead of UK ‘s vote to leave the European Union”.

IPSO

The Press Gazette reports that the Metro and MailOnline have apologised and take down articles which reported only one side of a paternity dispute involving a £1bn fortune.

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

On Tuesday 14 November 2017 there was a statement in open court in the case of Warnes v Fothergill before Warby J.

Last Week in the Courts

The News Media Association has applied for permission to appeal against the decision of the Administrative Court in its application for judicial review of the Press Recognition Pane’s decision to recognise Impress.  A judicial decision on the papers is awaited.

On 17 November 2017 Nicklin J handed down judgment in the case of Alsaifi v Trinity Mirror plc [2017] EWHC 2873.

Events

28 November 2017, Can we have some privacy? Dr Nicole Moreham, Victoria University, Lecture Theatre 2 (RHLT2), Rutherford House, Pipitea Campus, Bunny Street, Wellington, New Zealand.

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,” Ottawa, 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

 We note two recent cases in which Australian courts have made substantial damages awards arising out of Facebook posts and email publications.

In the case of Zaia v Eshow [2017] NSWSC 1540 the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East brought a libel claim against a former parishioner over email and Facebook publications relating to the appointment of two priests. The plaintiff did not give evidence but was awarded damages of Aus$150,000 and a permanent injunction.

In the case of Stokes v Ragless  [2017] SASC 159 Bampton J awarded general and aggravated damages of Aus$90.000 in respect of website, email and Facebook publications.  There was a press report of the case in the Advertiser.

 Canada

In McLaughlin v Maynard 2017 ONSC 6820 Hurley J dismissed a libel claim by two elected officials over Facebook posts by the defendant under the Ontario “Anti-SLAPP” statute.

In the case Stringam Denecky LLP v Sun Media Corporation, 2017 ABQB 687 B A Browne J allowed an appeal by a columnist against an order that would obliged him to reveal the identity of his source.

The Canadian Privacy Law blog has a post entitled “Ontario Court of Appeal confirms online harassment conviction where threatening website was “about” the complainant but not a threat directed “to” the complainant”.

France

A Court has ordered former minister of health and sports, Roselyne Bachelot, to pay tennis star Rafael Nadal €12,000 in damages for accusing him of doping.

Ireland

A Circuit court has awarded defamation damages of €65,000 over a libel published on the Facebook page “Darts in Ireland”.

The trial of a libel action brought by Ryanair against the founders of the Ryanair Pilot Group is proceeding in the High Court.  The airline claims they issued an email in September 2013 falsely saying the company misled investors.  There was a report in the Irish Times.

Ryanair has commenced defamation proceedings against the Irish Independent over reports concerning its pay talks with pilots.

Irish Legal News has a blog by Andrea Martin “The critical balance – protecting your name vs free expression”

Malta

The Times of Malta reports that the Government has unveiled a revised Defamation Bill.  A proposal to increase libel damages has been abandoned.

Russia

Reuters reports that Russia’s lower house of parliament on Wednesday passed on third and final reading a law that would allow the Russian authorities to designate foreign media operating in Russia as “foreign agents”

United States

The Daily Mail reports that former Spice Girl Mel B has settled her defamation case against her former nanny.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts 

We are not aware of any media law cases listed before the courts this week.

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)

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

Serafin v Malkiewicz heard 30-31 October and 1-3 and 6-9 November 2017 (Jay J).


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20 11 2017
daveyone1

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