Law and Media Round Up – 16 April 2018

16 04 2018

On Friday 13 April 2018 Warby J handed down public and private judgments in two “right to be forgotten” cases: NT1 and NT2 v Google (public judgment [2018] EWHC 799 (QB)). There was also a “Press Summary” [pdf] of the judgment. 

NT1 failed in his delisting claim whilst NT2 succeeded.  NT1 was granted permission to appeal.  There was no application for permission to appeal by Google in NT2.

The NT2 case was the first “delisting order” made by an English court and was, perhaps understandably, the focus of most of the media reporting (for example, the BBC and the Guardian).  There was a piece on the case on the Register – from the only reporter to provide full coverage of the trial.  There was also an Inforrm news item and one on the 5RB website.  We will have a case comment shortly.

A number of blogs have comments on the case including

The other big story in the Courts last week was the trial in the case of Sir Cliff Richard v BBC which began on Thursday 12 April 2018 before Mann J in the Chancery Division.  There was an Inforrm Case Preview and reports on the first and second days of the trial.  The trial has been the subject of wall to wall media coverage.  The BBC Legal Correspondent has an interesting piece entitled “Cliff Richard case ‘likely to have massive implications’”.

Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance before the Congressional Committees this week gained significant scrutiny as US House and Senate members struggled to understand the scope of the social media giant’s data coverage and the regulatory implications which stemmed from this:

Protocol 16 to the European Convention will enter into force on 1 August 2018. The Protocol allows the highest national courts of Member States to pose questions to the Court on the interpretation and application of Convention rights in pending cases. The Protocol provides an interim procedure for consulting the Court which is likely to assist in resolving preliminary matters before the Court.

Internet and Social Media

The LSE Media Policy and Project blog considers the nebulous concept of “Slacktivism”– political campaigning via social media to generate influence.

NPR has a debate stimulating post on the ability of social media to promote social responsibility, considering whether social media giants such as Facebook and YouTube are effectively meeting their moral obligations to users.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The Guardian has a thought-provoking post which considers commuters data privacy rights and the issues surrounding the use of Oyster cards.

The FT adviser has noted the many perspectives from which adviser firms should focus in providing GDPR compliance advice.

ICO

The regulator’s April newsletter can be found here. Alongside the typical sector, enforcement and event focus the newsletter considers the updates to its GDPR guide and Cambridge Analytica investigation.

The ICO has released the Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham’s script from the Data Protection Practitioners’ Conference 2018. Headlines include a summary of the regulators investigation into Cambridge Analytica, the evolving challenges of data protection regulation, GDPR resources, enforcement and public interest matters.

The regulator has also posted Elizabeth Denham’s speech at the National Cyber Security Centre’s CYBERUK 2018 event. This focuses on the development of a cyber security community emphasising a degree of self-regulation and accountability.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The Press Gazette has a piece about Carol Cadwalladr’s “data harvesting scoop” in which she says that “working with other news outlets gave us ‘strength .in numbers”.

Journalism.co.uk has a piece entitled “What journalists can do to hold algorithms to account”.

IPSO

IPSO has rejected a complaint by Alex Salmond concerning a report in the Herald about his appearance on Russia today. Hold the Front Page has a piece suggesting that this had prompted a row over the definition of “fake news”.

IPSO has also rejected a complaint against a Sunday Times column that said the Second Severn Crossing linked “rain sodden” Wales with the “first world”.

IPSO has released guidance on reporting on faith issues, promoting best practice on handling matters with due sensitivity.

Rulings              

IPSO has published a series of rulings and two Resolution Statements from the Complaints Committee:

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

There were no statements in open court last week.

Last Week in the Courts

On 11 April 2018 Nicklin J heard an application in the case of PML v Persons Unknown.

On the same day Arnold J granted the claimants in the case of Ali v Channel 5 permission to appeal on quantum. The defendant was refused permission to appeal on liability.

On the same day Newey LJ granted permission to appeal in the case of Various Claimants v MGN but did not order expedition.

As already mentioned, the trial in the case of Sir Cliff Richard v BBC began on Thursday 12 April 2018 before Mann J.  The trial continued on the afternoon of 12 April 2018.

On 12 April 2018 Nicklin J handed down judgment in the case of NPV v QEL [2018] EWHC 703 (QB). This was originally given in private on 28 March 2018.

On 12 April 2018 the Court of Appeal granted permission to appeal in the case of The Queen on the application of the News Media Association v The Press Recognition Panel.  The hear by date is 1 February 2019.

On Friday 13 April 2018 Warby J handed down judgment in the cases of NT1 and NT2 v Google LLC.

Events

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

Australia

In the case of Wilson v Bauer Media (Costs) [2018] VSC 161 John Dixon J ordered the defendant to pay the plaintiff’s costs on an indemnity basis. The court dismissed the plaintiff’s application for an order for the payment of a gross sum and other relief. There were reports of the decision on the BBC and Guardian websites.

In the case of Pinksterboer v Coumi [2018] SADC 25, the District Court awarded compensatory damages of Aus$42,500 in respect of three publications made in the context of an “escalating neighbour dispute”.

In an article in the Sydney Morning Herald Mark Pearson thoughtfully considers the reformation of Australian defamation law to better suit the typical claimant in the Australian Courts: the ordinary person.

Canada

Michael Geist notes the importance of robust data rules in modern trade agreements. Geist has also considered the issue of over-using website blocking and the accessibility and regulatory issues which stem from the practice.

Hong Kong

In the case of Jonathan Lu v Paul Chan Mo-Po [2018] HKCFA 11, the Court of Final Appeal ordered a retrial on the issue of malice.  The judgment was given by Lord Reed NPJ.  The defendant are the Financial Secretary and his wife and the case is brought by two students and their father over an allegation of cheating in a test.  There is a report in the South China Morning Post.

India

TV9 Telugu has been criticised for its coverage of women’s issues specifically that of senior police officer Sunitha Reddy’s divorce by academic Padmaja Shaw. A response to the criticism was made by Haseena Shaik.

The Economic Times of India has a post considering the potential impact of the GDPR on the countries IT industry.

Ireland

The Irish Times reports that Labour Senator Aodhán Ó Riordáin has apologised for a tweet he posted in the wake of the Belfast rape trial and has said it was not designed to suggest the men involved were guilty.

Barrister Mr O Floinn has commenced defamation proceedings against Health Minister Simon Harris and Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone following a series of tweets made by the politicians following his appearance on an RTE radio programme focusing on issues around the referendum.

Russia

The Moscow Times has reported that the Russian legislature has passed laws which permit authorities to block websites that publish defamatory information against public figures. This raises questions regarding whether such laws constitute a failure to safeguard freedom of expression and whether they could be misused for political purposes, including to censor criticism. 

United States

The case of  Mavrix Photographs v. LiveJournal the Ninth Circuit has ruled on LiveJournal’s liability for Safe Harbour under section 512(c) DCMA. The case involved six issues as to LiveJournal’s Safe Harbour eligibility in a claim by Mavrix Photographs for copyright infringement following LiveJournal’s use of their photos.

The much anticipated Microsoft Ireland case, regarding the US Governments ability to request user data on a cross jurisdictional basis, looks to have lost significance given the legislative changes being implemented by the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD Act). Stanford’s Cyberlaw blog has coverage.

The defamation lawsuit against President Trump by Summer Zevros continues, Lexology has coverage of the legal complexities the case engages.

A lawyer for former FBI Director Andrew McCabe has made a statement that the former security official may be filing a defamation complaint against the US President Trump. The Guardian and Daily Mail have coverage.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts 

The trial in the case of Sir Cliff Richard v BBC will continue before Mann J for the whole of this week.

On 16 April 2018 the trial in the case of Monir v Wood will begin before Nicklin J.  It is listed for 4 days.

On 17 April 2018, the Court of Appeal (Longmore, Ryder and Sharp LJJ) will hear the appeal in the case of Economou v Freitas.  The appeal is against the judgment of Warby J handed down on 27 July 2016, dismissing the claimant’s libel claim (see our case comment).  It is listed for two days.

On the same day the Administrative Court will hear the judicial review application in the case of R (on the application of Coulter) v IPSO

Judgments

We are not aware of any outstanding reserved judgments in media law cases.

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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