The Sunday Times faces mounting scrutiny following evidence from former private investigator, John Ford that he was asked to illegally obtain phone bills, bank details and also searched through subjects rubbish to obtain information. The Sunday Times “strongly rejects” his statements.
Ford’s statements were reported by the BBC and Guardian – but were ignored by most of the national press. Former PM Gordon Brown called for a police investigation into the Sunday Times and Former Deputy PM stated that he was “taking legal advice”. Labour Culture spokesman Tom Watson said, that in the light of this evidence, the Government should reopen the Leveson Inquiry.
Following the Ministry of Justices’ publication of Privacy Injunction Statistics Inforrm has a post analysing these figures.
Brian Cathcart continues his analysis of Max Molsey’s ongoing media fallout in an article focusing on his discourse with the Daily Mail.
5RB has released two Podcasts on Interim Injunctions, featuring Alex Marzec and Adam Speker.
Internet and Social Media
It is reported that a German law requiring social media companies to quickly remove hate speech is to be revised following criticisms that too much online content is being blocked.
Following statements by Culture Secretary Mike Hancock many news outlets have commented on the proposals to regulate children’s use of social media. The Times, ITV News, The Guardian and Telegraph all have coverage. The Independent considers the statements from the perspective of school stakeholders.
The Guardian notes the strategic approach taken by social media outlets in targeting users with advertising and how the impact of this approach is significant but remains to be highlighted.
Forbes has noted corporate reliance on social media via an interview with social media centric company SheKnows.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
Hawktalk has a thorough analysis of the current draft Data Protection Bill. The article considers how the Bill serves to restrict the rights of data subjects, in particular those of workers.
The Socially Aware blog has commented on the case of United States v. Microsoft, in which the court had to balancing the US government’s investigatory powers with the freedom of operation and protection of consumer privacy laws.
IAPP has posted a review of the Article 29 Working Party’s guidelines on notification under the GDPR.
The Regulator has a posted on the data protection issues surrounding The Internet of Things.
The ICO has issued a raid in Greater Manchester as a result of investigating over 11 million nuisance text messages.
Authorities in the United States County of Suffolk has proposed an initiative to allow police officers to access school cameras remotely, which has been noted by Pogowasright. The initiative has been dubbed SHARE, Sharing To Help Access Remote Entry.
The Florida Senate has approved an action which could ban warrantless location tracking or stingray usage.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
On Inforrm Paul Magrath considers the Government decision not to proceed with the second phase of the Leveson Inquiry. Natalie Fenton also considered the move and the failure of press abuse victims’ that it presents.
Strasbourg Observes has a thought-provoking article on the case of Butkevich v. Russia, an ECHR case which clarified that the preliminary collection of information by journalists is protected as part of freedom of the press. Dirk Voorhoof and Daniel Simons also considered the significance of the case in an Inforrm post.
IPSO’s latest newsletter focuses on new members and the section 40 controversy.
The IPSO blog also has an article from Senior Complaints Officer Hugo Wallis which explains the complaints process and how complainants can best utilize it.
A journalist from the Sun has been reprimanded for contacting a sexual assault victim three times in order to obtain details for a story. The Press Gazette has commented on the ruling here.
ISPO has ruled that the claim made by the Spectator that 32,000 Muslims are “eager to commit next terror atrocity” was significantly inaccurate. The Press Gazette’s coverage of this ruling can be found here.
IPSO has published a single resolution statement this week and seven rulings from the Complaints Committee:
- Resolution Statement 20878-17 Parsons v mirror.co.uk
- 19747-17 A woman v plymouthherald.co.uk: No breach of Principle 2 – Privacy
- 19601-17 Goodson v Telegraph.co.uk: No breach of Principle 1 – Accuracy
- 19508-17 The European Business Assembly v The Times: No breach of Principles 1 – Accuracy, 3 – Harassment and 12 – Discrimination
- 19078-17 Frazier & Phelps v Cambridge News: No breach of Principles 1 – Accuracy and 4 – Intrusion into grief or shock
- 16829-17 Warwickshire Police v The Sun: Breach of Principle 3 – Harassment
- 20380-17 Various v Mail Online: Breach of Principle 1 – Accuracy
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
On the same day there was a unilateral statement in open court in the case of Ellis v Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council. There was a report of this on Wigan Today.
Last Week in the Courts
The trial in NT1 v Google LLC was heard by Warby J on 6 and 7 March 2018. Judgment was reserved.
There was a hearing concerning costs in the case of Candy v Holyoake on 7 March 2018 before Nicklin J. The claim had been discontinued.
The Pre Trial Review in the case of Sir Cliff Richard v BBC took place before Mann J on Thursday 8 March 2018. The Press Gazette had a report on the hearing which considered whether information contained in witness statements of the BBC should be remain private. The judge said that he would consider the matter at trial.
17 March 2018 The Media Democracy Festival, 10am-6pm, Birkbeck, University of London, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7JL
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
In the aftermath of Rebel Wilson’s defamation case against Bauer Media many outlets have reported on the fact Wilson allegedly spent $1.4m on the case. The Guardian, ABC Online and NEWS.au all have coverage.
The practice of fact-checking and its increasing prominence as a journalistic methodology in Latin America is noted by the LSE Media Policy Project Blog this week.
Following the Google v. Equustek case, in which the Canadian Supreme Court upheld a global takedown order, Michael Geist notes the continuing ligation which focuses on conflict of laws issues.
The Phnom Penh Post has an insightful article highlighting a series of defamation cases currently being bought against former opposition leader Sam Rainsy. These allegations are primarily made by the current Prime Minister, Hun Sen.
The Hoot has an insightful article on the reporting of historical conflict in India and proposes approaches which respect the sensitivity of reporting on such matters.
The Star reports that the High Court has awarded actress Maria Farida (pic) RM400,000 in damages in her defamation suit filed against cosmetics businesswoman Hadijah Mohamed Mokhtar.
In the case of Williams v Craig  NZCA 31 the Court of Appeal set aside the High Court’s order for retrial of the claims for liability and damages but ordered a retrial of the damages claim on the ground that $1,27 million damages were excessive. The Court said that trial judges should give juries limits on how much to award in defamation cases. There were reports of the decision in the Newsroom and Newstalk ZB.
On Inforrm, Olivia O’Kane analyses the number of libel cases in 2017.
In the case of Sheridan v News Group the Court of Session dismissed a £200,000 claim for interest by former MSP Tommy Sheridan following his successful 2009 £200,000 defamation action against the publishers of the News of the World. There were reports on Scottish Legal News and BBC news.
Following the horrific shootings at Majorey Stoneman Douglas Highschool, Parkland Blog Law Online highlights the increasing pressure for public hearings in relation to the matter, including the criminal trial of the shooter himself, to ensure transparency of justice and public accountability.
The Federal Trade Commission has issued a report on Mobile Security analysing the sufficiency of mobile security procedures and updates. Hunton & Williams Privacy Blog has considered the key lessons which can be drawn from the Report here.
Research and Resources
- Criminal Prosecutions for Defamation and Insult in South Korea, Kyung Sin Park, Korea University Law School
- The Defamation Act 2013: We Need to Talk About Corporate Reputation, Peter Coe, Aston University
Internet and Social Media
- Are We Overprotecting Code? Thoughts on First-Generation Internet Law, Orin S. Kerr, University of Southern California Gould School of Law
- GDPR and the Internet of Things: Guidelines to Protect Users’ Identity and Privacy, Sandra Wachter
University of Oxford
- Regulating the IoT: Discrimination, Privacy, and Cybersecurity in the Artificial Intelligence Age, Charlotte Tschider, Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Data Protection and Privacy
- Information Fiduciaries in Practice: Data Privacy and User Expectations, Ariel Dobkin, Independent
- Privacy’s Double Standards, Scott Skinner-Thompson, University of Colorado Law School
- What is Data in this Brave New World?, Arun, University of Hyderabad
Next Week in the Courts
The trial in the case of NT2 v Google LLC will take place before Warby J on 12 and 14 March 2017.
On 12 March 2017 Nicklin J will hear an application in the case of Alsaifi v Trinity Mirror Plc.
On 14 March 2017 there will be hearing in the case of Ali & Aslam v. Channel 5 before Arnold J.
The following reserved judgments 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)
NT1 v Google, heard 27-28 February and 1, 6 and 7 March 2018 (Warby J).
This Round Up was compiled by Suneet Sharma, a junior legal professional with a particular interest and experience in media law