Law and Media Round Up – 26 February 2018

26 02 2018

The Home Affairs Select Committee heard evidence on anti-Muslim sentiments in the print media, a session which the print media wholly failed to report.  Inforrm had a piece by Brian Cathcart dealing with evidence of Sir Alan Moses of IPSO.

Conservative MP Ben Bradley has apologised for posting a tweet in which he said that Jeremy Corbyn had passed secrets to a spy from Czechoslovakia.  He accepted that the tweet was “wholly untrue” and agreed to a donate a sum to charity and pay legal costs.  The whole bizarre “Corbyn the Commie” story is considered in an Inforrm post by Ivor Gaber.

One of the most high profile media law stories of the week is a report that comedian Louise Beamont is being sued by her ex-husband for allegedly defaming him in the course of her act.  Ms Beamont has launched a “gofundme” page to raise money for her defence.  According to Lawtel the claim was issued on 26 January 2018 but no further details are available.

LSE’s Media Blog has a compelling piece which conducts an economic-health check of Big Tech. The article, by LSE’s Charlie Beckett, focuses on the ever increasing issue of regulatory scrutiny and considers how these pressures could impact technology companies who are comparatively early in their life cycle.

On 16 February 2018, the Supreme Court announced the refusal of permission to appeal in the case of CG v Facebook Ireland Ltd  (see the Inforrm Case comment on the decision of the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal).

On 23 February 2018 the Supreme Court refused Arcady Rotenberg permission to appeal against a judgment discharging an anonymity order.  There was a news item about the refusal on the 5RB website.  This decision was widely reported in the press, including in the Independent and the Times [£]

Internet and Social Media

The Financial Times considers the difficulties posed by to Facebook in ensuring GDPR compliance.

On Inforrm we had an article from Stefan Theil on Germany’s regulation of social media..

The implications of freedom of speech when paired with accessibility and coverage of the platform Twitter are considered by Vanity Fair.  The article particularly considers the platform’s response to tweets flagged as spam or abuse and critiques the approach of the Head of Trust and Safety, Del Harvey.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The IAPP has a web conference series which considers the role of Data Protection Officers.

The Standford Cyberlaw blog has an article, originally from the Motherboard blog, on the development of fully autonomous vehicles and the privacy implications of the data flows that these will create.

Pogowasright considers six prominent privacy implications for Educational technology.

Coindesk considers the privacy implications of Bitcoin and the issues that arise from the ever increasing methods for making payments in the virtual currency.

ICO                                                                    

The ICO has a new model of funding, charging data protection controllers on the basis of the sensitivity of the data they process. This Tiered process has annual fees ranging from £40 through to £2,900.

The Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, has made a speech at the Direct Marketing Association’s Data Protection 2018 Event. This focuses mainly on regulatory policy, challenges and changes to the organisation.

The ICO has executed a search warrant for an “imposter” suspected of trying to alter exam results.

A former council worker has been fined £850 for sharing personal information about schoolchildren and parents via Snapchat.

Surveillance

Graham Smith has a piece dealing with the “more ticklish points of interepretation” of the Investigatory Powers Act.

The Shoosmiths website has a piece entilted “Covert CCTV at work.  Is this ever possible?” dealing with recent ECtHR case law.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The NUJ has warned that the UK regional press industry is heading towards a “duopoly” of Trinity Mirror and Newsquest.

In an article concerning the state of journalism in Australia Margaret Simons argues that technological changes are at last being relefected in a shift in attitudes to funding public interest journalism.

IPSO

Four new publishers joined IPSO: West Bridgford Wire, Thurrock Independent, Iliffe Media and Caerphilly Observer. Press Gazette considers the significance of this move given that the Observer left the Royal Charter-mandated regulator, Impress following claims that it attempted to bury an internal impartiality review.

Rulings

IPSO published one decision of the Complaints Committee: 19858-17 Walker v mirror.co.uk. A complaint under clause 1 of the Code (accuracy) was dismissed.

In addition, IPSO published three resolution statements:

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

We have already mentioned the apology of  Ben Bradley MP to Jeremy Corbyn.

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has secured an apology and £20,000 libel damages from the publication Jewish News for an article it published in April 2017

The Press Gazette has pieces on apologies and the payment of damages by the Telegraph and the Sun to a married couple after unfounded claims that they plotted Islamist “Trojan Horse” takeover of a primary school.

Last Week in the Courts

On 19 February 2018 the Investigatory Powers Tribunal handed down a short judgment in the case of Wilkinson v Chief Constable of Cleveland [2018] UKIPTrib IPT_17_84-85_H (Ch) noting that RIPA authorisations in relation to Press Association journalists were admitted to be unlawful and ordering them to be quashed.  There was a report of the decision in the Press Gazette.

On 21 February 2018, Dingemans J handed down judgment on a preliminary issue on meaning in the case of Bukova v Associated Newspapers [2018] EWHC 320 (QB)).

On 22 February 2018 Arnold J handed down judgment in the case of Ali v Channel 5 Broadcast ([2018] EWHC 298 (Ch)) finding that the claimants’ privacy had been invaded.  There was a report in the Guardian. We had an Inforrm case comment by Zoe McCullum.

Events

26 February 2018, “Global Internet and Jurisdiction Conference,” Ottawa, Canada.

17 March 2018 The Media Democracy Festival, 10am-6pm, Birkbeck, University of London, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7JL

Please let us know if there are any media and law events which you would like us to list. 

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

Canada

The Law Times has a report on the Ontario Court of Appeal decision in  Rutman v. Rabinowitz,

Ever since Canadian company Bell Media launched its controversial Fair Play initiative, advocating website-blocking, it has received ever intensifying concern from supporters of open media. Michael Geist has considered the movement at length in a broad series of articles covering issues such as market competition, anti-piracy and the flaws in the operation of website blocking:

India

The Hoot has a piece that provides insightful analysis into the recent judgment in Lok Prahari v. Union of India [pdf], where the Indian Supreme Court ruled that political candidates and relatives right to privacy bars disclosure of their source of income.

The same website also has a piece entitled “Judges push back against gag orders” concerning a judgment of the Bombay High Court quashing an order by a special CBI court that banned the media from reporting on the proceedings in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh ‘fake encounter’ case.

The Cellular Operators Association of India, representative of major Indian telecoms, has received a defamation notice from Reliance Jio Infocomm. The Indian Economic Times covers the notice from Jio which accuses the representative of promoting predatory pricing through tariff-related polices.

Ireland

The jury in a defamation case taken by former Sinn Féin councillor Nicky Kehoe against RTÉ will resume deliberations on Monday 26 February 2018.

Netherlands

Three media outlets De Gelberlander, blog Geenstijl and site The Post Online have made complaints to an Amsterdam court requesting the removing of allegations that they spread fake news. Press Gazette considers the basis of the claims.

New Zealand

In the case of Ross v Hunter [2017] NZDC 22579 Two lawyers have been awarded $84,000 in a against a conman who defamed them on a website he runs.  There was a report about the judgment on Stuff.co.nz.

United States

Norton Rose Fulbright’s blog has an update on the case of Fields v. Twitter, Inc which considers the application of the Anti-Terrorism Act to social media.

The Hill has considered the implication of the dismissal of a defamation suit against television host John Oliver regarding statements made in a segment criticising the coal industry. The action was bought by CEO of Murray Energy Corp, Bob Murray in West Virginia.

The Socially Aware Blog has critiqued the recent California case of Bartholomew v. YouTube, LLC, which has considered YouTube’s removal of videos for terms of use violations.

The Federal Trade Commission has published a blog post on how customers can use Virtual Private Network apps to provide data security. 

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts 

On 27 February 2018 Warby J will begin hearing the trial in the case of NT1 v Google LLC.  The trial is listed for 5 days (27 and 28 February and 1, 6 and 7 March 2018).  There are pieces considering the case on the Panopticon blog and the UK Human Rights Blog.

Judgments

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

Gubarev v Buzzfeed, heard 5 February 2018 (Master Fontaine)

AXB v BXA, heard 12 and 13 February 2018 (Sir David Eady)

This Round Up was compiled by Suneet Sharma, a junior legal professional with a particular interest and experience in media law


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