On 29 January 2018, the death was announced of retired Lord Justice, human rights campaigner, blogger and IT champion, Sir Henry Brooke. His last tweet was on 28 January 2018. There were obituaries in the Times and the Financial Times, His remarkable and entertaining blog is here. He will be remembered with great affection by everyone who encountered him.
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee is conducting an inquiry into fake news. On Thursday 8 February 2018 it will hold a public evidence session in Washington DC. This will be the first ever live broadcast public hearing of a House of Commons Select Committee outside the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, back in London, on 6 February 2018 the Home Affairs Select Committee will be hearing evidence from academics and researchers in the field of online and offline hate crime to identify practical recommendations to tackle hate crime.
On Tuesday 30 January 2018, in the case of Watson v Home Secretary ( EWCA Civ 70) confirmed that section 1 of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 was inconsistent with EU in certain important respects. There was a piece about the decision in the Press Gazette.
The LSE Media Policy Project blog has a piece considering the recent move by Fox to sell a substantial part of its business, including its 39% stake in Sky, to Disney. The risk of competition regulatory infringement the move poses is undoubtedly high; the British Competition and Markets Authority will likely launch an investigation of a similar magnitude to that of the Fox/Sky merger proposal. With the consolidation of traditional media outlets, safeguarding consumer interests is becoming an increasingly pressing issue.
The Hoot considers the depictions of the press presented in the recent Hollywood movie The Post, using the recent box office hit as a medium to initiate a conversation regarding the state of the press in the 21st Century.
The Verge has a piece about “deepfakes”, the app designed to map the faces of well-known figures onto pornographic pictures saying that there is little that the law can do about it. There is also a post on Wired, suggesting that in the US the law can’t help. The position is likely to be very different under English law. Mashable UK has a piece entitled “A guide to ‘deepfakes’ the internet’s latest moral crisis”
It is reported that former MP George Galloway is suing Jon Lansman of Momentum over an accusation of anti-semitism.
UKIP is said to be ‘on the brink of bankruptcy’ following the loss of a defamation claim brought by three Labour MP’s against of MEP Jane Collins. She had made false accusations that the Labour MPs ignored child sex abuse. The MPs are claiming costs of £670,000 and are seeking an order against UKIP.
The Law Society Gazette has a short comment on the case brought by Appleby Group against the BBC and the Guardian over the so-called “Paradise Papers”
The Guardian has a short obituary of former libel practitioner and judge Sir Brian Neil who died on Christmas Eve aged 94.
Internet and Social Media
Legal Cheek has some interesting examples in its awards for the best use of social media by lawyers.
Amid Facebook’s recent publication of Privacy Principles and establishment of a Privacy Centre the Hunton Law Blog notes the social media outlets efforts and considers the implications of the move.
Given the high degree of scrutiny it advocates IAPP considers the consequences of the GDPR’s tracking of email and website monitoring. A comparison is also made with US privacy law.
Follow MP Matt Hancock’s launch of his own app and social media network Pogowasright clarifies the discourse surrounding the launch.
In the Scotsman Chris Marshall critques the amendment of Scottish defamation law to reflect the growing prevalence of the internet.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
In a post on the Panopticon Blog Anya Proops QC considers recent caselaw in the UK courts, particularly in Court of Appeal relating to data protection and the right to be forgotten.
The ICO has issued a £300,000 fine to Holmes Financial Solutions Ltd after the company made over 8.7m nuisance calls.
In a blog post the ICO promotes comments made by the Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, on information rights and responsibilities at the Association of Chief Executives and Public Chairs’ Forum event.
The News Lens International puts a case forward for a Unified Privacy Law.
The release of a GOP memo outlining abuses of surveillance laws has prompted an article from CBS News. Coverage was also made by the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and Politico.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
Given the recent settlement of News Group Newspapers over another series of phone hacking cases the Press Gazette covers the media groups’ most recent apologies to victims.
IMPRESS has ruled [pdf] that the Byline breached its code in relation to the publication of a photograph of Ted Heath in a police ‘sex abuse’ probe story. This was covered by the Press Gazette.
In an interesting illustration of how a press arbitration system can filter out unmeritorious claims, IMPRESS has refused to refer a claim by ex MP John Hemmings to its arbitration scheme.
There are no new IPSO rulings on its website for the period of 28 January 2018 to 3 February 2018. However, the Sunday Times published an adjudication, upholding a complaint that it had breached clause 2 (privacy) in a story about a refugee.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
On 30 January 2018 a number of statements in open court in News of the World phone hacking cases were read before Mann J: Fran Cutler v News Group Newspapers Ltd; Tanya Frayne v News Group Newspapers Ltd; Colin Jackson v News Group Newspapers Ltd; Jess Morris v News Group Newspapers Ltd; Sophia Myles v News Group Newspapers Ltd; David Tennant v News Group Newspapers Ltd. There was a report in the Press Gazette.
Last Week in the Courts
On 30 January 2018, the Supreme Court (Lords Mance, Kerry, Sumpton, Reed and Hodge) heard the appeal in Cartier International v British Telecommunications plc. We had a case preview. The video recordings of the morning and the afternoon hearings are available online. Judgment was reserved.
On the same day Nicklin J heard an application for committal in the case of Al-Ko Kober Ltd & ors v Sambh. Judgment was given on 2 February 2018.
On 31 January 2018 Dingemans J heard an application in the case of Miah v BBC.
On 1 February 2017, Julian Knowles J handed down two judgments. In ABC v Google Inc  EWHC 137 (QB) he dismissed an application for a “right to be forgotten” injunction. We had a case comment.
In GYH v Persons Unknown  EWHC 121 (QB) he entered judgment for an injunction in a harassment case, making an order for damages to be assessed.
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
ABC News notes Barrister Lloyd Rayney’s appeal following an award of $2.6m in his defamation case. Rayney seeks to appeal on the basis that his awarded is not wholly reflective of the damage done to him.
New.co,au reports reports that actor Craig McLachlan is suing former Rocky Horror Picture Show co-star Christie Whelan Browne over accusations of sexual harassment. He is also suing Fairfax Media and he ABC.
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has launched legal action against the ABC over its report yesterday that he was warned about “critical risks” of the doomed home insulation scheme before the deaths of four young installers.
In the case of Rutman v Rabinowitz and ors 2018 ONCA 80 the Court dismissed an appeal against an award of damages of $700,000 in respect of an orchestrated Internet defamation campaign. There is report about the decision in the Globe and Mail. There is also a piece on CBC news.
Telecom company Bell has led a coalition of companies to consider a wide-ranging website blocking plan which arguably undermines the protection of privacy, net neutrality and freedom of expression. Michael Geist’s blog considers the implications of the move.
Geist’s blog also has a compelling analysis of the Canadian policy equivalent to the right to be forgotten, which was recently proposed by the Canadian Privacy Commissioner. The legal basis for the right and the wide discretion given to search engines are critiqued. Privacy Lawyer.
France 24 reports that the French Minister of Culture Francoise Nyssen said that a judicial procedure would be established to stop the dissemination of fake news, as she introduced the anti-fake news law.
Following the presentation of the latest budget by India’s Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, The Hoot considers the implications this has for Indian media outlets.
The Government shutdown down three television stations after they tried to broadcast images of the opposition leader’s mock inauguration, a ceremony considered treasonous. The High Court ordered the shutdown to end but the stations remained off air. The Standard has a piece entitled “Media shutdown points to disregard for the rule of law”. The Independent in South Africa has a piece entitled “Media freedom in Kenya shrouded in darkness”.
The Times of Malta has considered the countries legislative protection against libel tourism in a recent article.
The Transparency Project highlights new laws focusing on press freedom presented in the recent President’s View number 18.
Following the recent interview of Donald Trump by Piers Morgan The Media Blog comments on the mediocre at best outcome.
Research and Resources
- The novel opportunity for academics to present their papers at the European Court of Human Rights is being published by the ECHR Blog. The deadline for submission of papers is 15 February 2018.
- The Ordinary, Reasonable Search Engine User and the Defamatory Capacity of Search Engine Results in Trkulja V Google Inc, David Rolph, University of Sydney Law School
- Research Paper: An examination of the scope of the relevant provisions of the Maldives Defamation Act, Law on the Protection of Reputation and Freedom of Expression 2016 (Maldives), in providing protection (or otherwise) to journalists when exercising their right to freedom of expression., Mariyam Zulfa, Indepdendent
- Technology for Privacy: Protecting against Online Tracking and Profiling (Presentation Slides), Rob van Eijk, Leiden University
- India’s Proposed Data Protection Framework – Recommendations on Individual Participation Rights, Arnav Joshi, LSE
- Shattering One-Way Mirrors. Data Subject Access Rights in Practice, Jef Ausloos, KU Leuven
- The Importance of Privacy by Design and Data Protection Impact Assessments in Strengthening Protection of Children’s Personal Data Under the GDPR, van der Hof Simone and Eva Lievens, Leiden University and Ghent University
Next Week in the Courts
On 5 February 2018 there will be statements in open court in the Mirror phone hacking cases of Grant, Little, Lowe and in the News Group phone hacking case of Cook and Hames before Mann J.
At 2pm the same judge will hear a CMC in the News Group Newspapers phone hacking litigation.
On the same day there will be a statement in open court in the case of Homer v Hollingsworth before Jay J. The trial had been due to commence on that day.
[Update] On 5 to 7 February 2018 there will be a trial before Arnold J in the case of Ali v Channel 5 Broadcasting. This is a privacy claim against Channel 5’s “Can’t Pay? We’ll take it away”. The claimants complain that they were filmed in their house in their night clothes. More details can be found here.
We are not aware of any hearings in media and law cases this week.
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