On Monday 5 February 2018 there was a statement in open court [pdf] in the case brought by actor Hugh Grant against the Mirror Newspapers. MGN admitted that a number of its senior employees, including executives, editors and journalists, condoned, encouraged or actively turned a blind eye to the widespread culture of unlawful information gathering activities at all three of its newspapers for many years and actively sought to conceal its wrongdoing from its many victims of intrusion.
On the same day there was a statement in open court in the case brought by former Crimewatch presenter Jacqui Hames against the News of the World. This statement was covered on Police Oracle and the Hacked Off website. In statements made outside court Mr Grant and Ms Hames called for the Government to press on with Leveson Part Two.
It was announced this week that the Trinity Mirror has acquired Northern and Shell, parent company of the Daily Express, Sunday Express and Daily Star. The Group will be purchased for £126.7m. The Times, Mirror, BBC News, the Guardian and the Independent all have coverage. Hugh Muir had a piece entitled “Richard Desmond is no longer a press baron – it can only be good news”. Inforrm had a post about the acquisition.
The House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee held an evidence session on fake news in Washington DC. Meanwhile, the Home Affairs Select Committee heard evidence about hate crime and policy proposals. The evidence sessions can be viewed here.
The Infolawcentre blog has a post on the government’s recent establishment of a new anti-fake news unit. The National Security Communications Unit is said to be dedicated to “combating disinformation by state actors and others.” The significance of the move the potential impact were considered by the Guardian, Telegraph, Reuters and Business Insider.
Following an altercation at the University of the West of England involving MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, Paul Bernal considers the freedom of speech implications following the incident.
Internet and Social Media
The Times has a thought provoking article on the use of personal data by social media providers and the implications this has for consumers.
The Brett Wilson Media Law Blog has briefly considered comments by UK Prime Minister Theresa May regarding the review of social media laws by the Law Commission.
LinkedIn has recently updated its Terms of Service to promote visibility of information. The Social Media Law Bulletin provides commentary. The Bulletin has also posted on how negative social media postings can defeat a claim for breach of contract.
On 30 January 2018 the Court of Appeal gave the claimant permission to appeal in the case of Butt v Secretary of State for Home Department.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
The Stanford Cyberlaw blog has a piece on the risks of “Responsible Encryption”. The White Paper considers the implication of recent reviews by federal enforcement officials of legislation regulating encryption in the United States.
The Hoot has an article focusing on the intersection between the right to privacy and journalism.
The Hawktalk blog covers the exemptions in the UK’s proposed Data Protection Bill, considering the wide-ranging exemptions and the practical issues the pose.
DAC Beachcroft considers the use of hidden cameras in the workplace and the potential breach of employee’s privacy rights such arrangements pose.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
The Transparency Project blog has a post dealing with the Daily Mail’s misreporting of issues concerning the proportions of divorces started by women.
Following the release of rapist Jon Worboys the Sun has obtained leave to join a legal challenge to the decision of the Parole Board.
The IPSO Blog has an article written by Jennifer Potter which considers how media outlets portray domestic abuse and sexual violence.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
We have already mentioned the statements in open court in the cases of Grant v MGN and Hames v NGN.
Last Week in the Court
On Monday 5 February 2018 there was a hearing before Senior Master Fontaine in the case of Gubarev v Buzzfeed. The hearing concerned an application to set aside an order for a deposition by Christopher Steele, the author of infamous “Trump dossier”. There were reports in the Independent and by Reuters. Judgment was reserved.
On 7 February 2018, Nicklin J heard an application for an interim non-disclosure order in the case of Ho v Bragg. The order was granted to a return date on 14 February 2018. A judgment was handed down on 8 February 2018 ( EWHC 214 (QB)).
On 8 and 9 February 2018 Warby J heard an application in the case of Barron v Collins. There was a piece about the case in the Rotherham Advertiser. Judgment was reserved.
On 8 February 2018 Dingemans J heard an application in the case of Bokova v Associated Newspapers Ltd. The Claim Form and Particulars of Claim [pdf] are available on Lawtel [£], The background can be found on the Support Irina Bokova Facebook page.
On 9 February 2018, Nicklin J heard an application in the case of JMO v KTA. Judgment was reserved.
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
Actor Geoffrey Rush’s defamation case against Sydney’s Daily Telegraph over articles which describe him as a “pervert” or a “sexual predator” continues. On Thursday it was successfully argued that the Papers’ defence should not be made part of the public record as doing so would serve to further injure the actors’ reputation.
In light of the Canadian governments review of the Canada Copyright Act the Social Media Law Bulletin covers the opportunity for the consideration of artificial intelligence regulation.
In the case of Oriental Press Group v Google LLC ( HKCA 69) the Court of Appeal dismissed appeals by Google against refusals to set aside permission to serve proceedings out of the jurisdiction. The plaintiffs say that a search on the Google website with the words “white powder newspapers” produced eight search results or snippets which were defamatory of them. There was a news story about the case in the South China Morning Post.
It is reported that Tourism Board chairman Peter Lam Kin-ngok has succeeded in his libel claim against Hong Kong e-Sports founder Derek Cheung.
The Hoot has made a submission to the Srikrishna Committee on data protection law entitled “The right to privacy will impact journalism”
The Economic Times has written about the implications of the Aadhaar Project on surveillance and privacy, examining the critical discourse.
The Times of Malta reports that Lawyer Luciano Busuttil has been awarded damages for defamation after a report published in PN daily In-Nazzjon had alleged political discrimination by the former Labour mayor of Ħamrun.
The Daily Mail reports that a Thai company has bought a defamation action claim against 14 of its former workers who claimed that they had been exploited.
Trinidad and Tobago
In the case of A Family v Burke, a High Court Judge found that the defendant was liable for the publication of false defamatory statements about the plaintiff family on Facebook. The messages stated that the father of the family was a rapist who would engage in sexual relations with his stepson and daughter who is a minor. Telephone numbers belonging to the family members as well as their photographs were attached to the posts. One of the posts also stated that the minor, who was seven years old at the time, was involved in prostitution at her school. There are reports about the case in the Trinidad Guardian and the Sunday Express. The extracts from the judgment is available on the Sunday Express website.
Socially Aware notes that changes to California law are increasing the visibility of consumer subscription policies.
A Federal Judge has refused an application to dismiss a libel claim by producer Brett Ratner against a woman who used him of rape.
Research and Resources
- Back to the Basics: Framing a New Data Protection Law for India, Smitha Krishna Prasad, National Law University Delhi.
- International Organizations and the EU General Data Protection Regulation, Christopher Kuner, University of Cambridge.
- Privacy in South Asian (SAARC) States: Reasons for Optimism, Graham Greenleaf, University of New South Wales.
- #I🔫U: Considering the Context of Online Threats, California Law Review, Forthcoming, University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2018-11, Lyrissa Barnett Lidskyand Linda Riedemann Norbut
- Ownership of Personal Data in the Internet of Things, Václav Janeček, University of Oxford, Law Faculty/St Edmund Hall.
- The Death of ‘No Monitoring Obligations’: A Story of Untameable Monsters, 8(3) Journal of Intellectual Property, Information Technology and E-Commerce Law (JIPITEC) 212 (2017), Center for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI) Research Paper No. 2017-15, Giancarlo Frosio, Université de Strasbourg – CEIPI.
- What Injures a Corporation? Toward Better Understanding Corporate Personality, B. Heaton.
- From Internet Referral Units to International Agreements: Censorship of the Internet by the UK and EU, Columbia Human Rights Law Review, Forthcoming, Brian Chang, University of Oxford
Next Week in the Courts
On Monday 12 February 2018 the Court of Appeal (McFarlane and Sharp LJJ and Sir John Laws) will hand down judgment in the case of Stocker v Stocker (heard 30 and 31 January 2018).
On the same day the trial of AXB v BXA will begin before Sir David Eady and Dingemans J will hand down judgment in the case of Miah v BBC.
The following reserved judgment after public hearings in media law cases are outstanding:
Gubarev v Buzzfeed, heard 5 February 2018 (Master Fontaine)
Ali v Channel 5 Broadcasting, heard 5, 6 and 7 February 2018 (Arnold J).
Barron v Collins, heard 8 and 9 February 2018 (Warby J)
JMO v KTA, heard 9 February 2018 (Nicklin J)
This Round Up was compiled by Suneet Sharma, a junior legal professional with a particular interest and experience in media law