It was announced on 23 January 2018 that the Competition Markets Authority has reached a provisional view that the Fox/Sky deal is not in the public interest. The decision was widely reported in the press, including in the Guardian and the Financial Times.
The Media Reform Coalition has a piece on the decision entitled “It’s official: Fox acquisition of Sky will give Murdoch ‘too much influence over public opinion’”. It nevertheless seems likely that, in the light of proposed takeover of Fox by Disney that Fox will then be able to acquire 100% of Sky. The CMA will consider the impact of the Disney deal in the consultation into its provisional findings.
An undercover Financial Times journalist wrote a piece entitled “Men Only: Inside the charity fundraiser where hostesses are put on show” which led to a classic “media storm” with resignations, apologies and the closing down of the charity in question. Roy Greenslade suggested that the story showed how much attitudes have changed pointing out that “even the tabloids thought it was sleazy” with only the Mail left to decry “virtue signalling”.
Sarah Ferguson is engaged in legal proceedings against News Group Newspapers arising out of a 2010 “sting” by Mazher Mahmood. Last week it was reported that she was seeking damages of £45 million for lost business opportunities.
The Press Gazette reports on a threatened legal challenge by the Sun and the Mail to obtain the Parole Board Report which resulted in decision to release of John Warboys.
The Cyberlaw Clinic has posted “The Cyberlaw Guide to Protest Art” dealing with the issues that arise in the United States for artists engaged in political protest.
Internet and Social Media
Facebook has announced that it intends to rank the popularity of news outlets by consumer choice. The Center for Internet and Society blog has a post about this entitled “Popularity doesn’t equal truth”.
The Social Media Law bulletin considers the use of social media messages as evidence in cases following the recent finding against Danny Kay using his archived messages.
The Socially Aware blog has considered how to address the corporate risk posed by Social Media in 2018
The Guardian has released a podcast “Digital dystopia: democracy in the internet age”. This considers the development of social media platforms as a forum for democratic debate, political advertising and campaigning.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
On 24 January 2018, the European Commission issued a communication to the European Parliament and the Council (the “Communication”) on the direct application of the GDPR. There is a post about this communication on the Privacy & Information Security Law Blog.
On 25 January 2018 the CJEU held that Max Schrems’ case against Facebook for alleged privacy violations can go ahead in a court in Vienna but he will not be allowed to form a class action with others, the CJEU Court of Justice ruled.
Given the GDPR’s implementation on 25 May Reuters considers the European Union’s encouragement of businesses to implement data protection practices to ensure compliance. The Financial Times also covers the recent statements.
The BBC reports that Uber’s largest competitor, Lyft, is investigating an anonymous claim that employees are abusing customer’s personal data.
The Guardian considered Google’s implementation of an ad blocking tool which assists users with managing and protection their data.
The Spanish Responsible Internet Blog has considered a case where companies with a Facebook page could be found jointly responsible for data processes via the site.
The Washington Post has considered the recent renewal of s.702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act 1978 by President Trump. The Act allows for conditional domestic mass surveillance.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
Press Gazette has considered comments by the Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, regarding the implementation of section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013.
The Guardian reports that IPSO faces two judicial review claims, one over the notorious comment piece by ex-Board member Trevor Kavanagh which referred too the “Muslim problem”
IPSO has reprimanded the Belfast Telegraph over its handling of a complaint made against the news producer.
IPSO has posted a blog providing guidance on the coverage of transgender issues by news outlets.
There were no new IPSO rulings between 22 January and 26 January 2018.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
We are not aware of any statements in open court in the last week.
The Scottish Daily Mail has apologised to Nicola Sturgeon over a front page story claiming that she wanted to curtail flying of the flag for royal events. There was a post about this on the Zelo Street blog.
Last Week in the Courts
On 24 January 2018 there was a pre-trial review in the case of ABX v BXA before Sir David Eady. The trial is due to begin on 12 February 2018.
On 26 January 2018 Rose J handed down judgment in the case of Appleby Global Group LLC v British Broadcasting Corporation & Anor  EWHC 104 (Ch) refusing to transfer the “Paradise Papers” breach of confidence claim to the Media and Communications List of the Queen’s Bench Division.
19 February 2018, Personal Data as an Asset: Design and Incentive Alignments in a Personal Data Economy, 7.30pm, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR
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
In the case of Charan v Nationwide News Pty Ltd  VSC 3 J Forrest J dismissed a libel action which had been tried over a period of 34 days between February and August 2017. The plaintiff had been defamed but the defence of justification succeeded. The plaintiff was described as an “entirely unreliable witness” . There was a news story about the decision the Sydney Morning Herald.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has released a press release, notice of consultation and draft paper on online reputation. The draft position is that there exists a “right to be forgotten” in Canada which involves the mandatory “de-indexing of search results”.
In the case of Dong v Hofer 2018 BCSC 77, Ehrcke J dismissed a defamation claim arising out of communications within a real estate office on the basis that the defence of qualified privilege had been made out.
In the case of Wood v Jaffer 2018 BCSC 85 Burnyeat J awarded damages for defamation in sum of $45,000 (including punitive damages of $10,000) in respect of allegations made by house owners to various trade bodies about a builder whose work they were dissatisfied with.
The Chinese government has released a voluntary national standard on personal information security, which has been considered by the Hunton Privacy Blog.
The Economist has considered growing consumer concerns in China around data privacy.
The Hoot has issued its annual report on The Climate for Free Speech in India. It concluded that
The climate for journalism in India grew steadily adverse in 2017. A host of perpetrators made reporters and photographers, even editors, fair game as there were murders, attacks, threats, and cases filed against them for defamation, sedition, and internet-related offences.
The Independent has covered the success of a woman in her defamation action against a nightclub manager after he accused her of robbing handbags. The woman was awarded €30,000 in damages.
The Irish Times considers the recent speech of Grainne Long, Chief Executive of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, encouraging parents to set boundaries for their children’s internet use. The statement comes following the sentencing of Matthew Horan for his exploitation of two nine year old girls via internet sites.
The Times of Israel reports that the Tel Aviv District Court has rejected an appeal by a journalist against the NIS 100,000 ($28,300) in compensation he was ordered to pay Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara after losing a libel lawsuit.
The growing prominence of crowdfunding in public interest related defamation cases is reflected by Malaysiakini, a Malaysian news site, raising over S$110,000 to fund its defence. Mumbrella Asia considers the case here.
The ongoing debate in the United States over the implementation of net neutrality, following the Federal Communications Commission decision to repeal enforcement laws, continues following AT&T releasing a statement in support of legislative change. The Washington Post covers this here. Wired gives an overview of recent net neutrality related incidents here.
Research and Resources
- Understanding the Law of Defamation in the Context of Newspaper Publication and Other Allied Areas: From K.M. Mathew (2002) to Mohammed Abdulla Khan (2017), Shivam Geol, Independent
- Dosamantes V. Spain: Privacy and Media Discussion of a Public Figure’s Sexual Orientation, Ronan Ó Fathaigh, University of Amsterdam
- The Valuation of Secrecy and the Privacy Multiplier, David Cerezo Sánchez, Calctopia
- Protecting Against Privacy Breaches in the Public Sector, Omar Ha-Redeye, Ryerson University
- Data Protection: A Necessary Part of India’s Fundamental Inalienable Right of Privacy – Submission on the White Paper of the Committee of Experts on a Data Protection Framework for India, Graham Greenleaf, University of New South Wales
Call for Papers: Law via the Internet 2018 Conference, 11-12 October 2018: Institute of Legal Information Theory and Techniques of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR-ITTIG) is pleased to announce the call-for-paper (abstract only) for participating in LAW VIA THE INTERNET CONFERENCE 2018, October 11-12, 2018, Firenze, Italy.
Next Week in the Courts
We are not aware of any media law cases listed for next week.
[Update] On 30 January 2018, Nicklin J will hear an application for committal in the case of Al-Ko Kober Ltd & ors v Sambh (see our post on the decision to grant an injunction).
We are not aware of any outstanding media law judgments.
This Round Up was compiled by Suneet Sharma, a junior legal professional with a particular interest and experience in media law