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Law and Media Round Up – 14 May 2018 [Updated]

On Wednesday 9 May 2018 MPs in the House of Common voted against the implementation of a data protection version of Part Two of the Leveson Inquiry by way on an amendment to the Data Protection Bill. 

The Government proposed amendments which involved reviews by the ICO of press standards on data protection.  These were agreed although their practical impact is limited.

The debate drew significant coverage:

The issue is now to be dealt with by the Parliamentary process known as “ping pong” – with the House of Lords deciding on Monday whether to reinstate the Leveson 2 amendment and send it back to the House of Commons for reconsideration by MPs.

Mohammed Kobzar has been successful in his defamation claim against the Telegraph in relation an article published on 13 March 2016 entitled “Corbyn and the mosque leader who blames the UK for Isil” and was awarded £30,000. The Correction & Clarifications section of the Telegraph has factually commented on the matter here and there were reports in the Press Gazette and the Independent. There was a statement in open court (see below).

Stanford’s Cyberlaw blog has an article considering who owns the copyright subsisting in art created by artificial intelligence. The article uses the recent case involving a monkey taking a selfie to hypothesise using the base principle that the US Copyright Office “will refuse to register a claim if it determines that a human being did not create the work”.

Strasbourg Observers considers the recent case of Gulamhussein and Tariq v United Kingdom which clarified how courts should approach the application of Article 6 ECHR in relation to closed material procedures.

Internet and Social Media

Privacy International notes that Facebook and other social media companies should commit to implementing GDPR level data protection mechanisms globally, not just for those users within the EU. Facebook services of most jurisdictions out of its hub in Ireland, under Irish (and therefore incorporating EU) data protection laws. However, Facebook has changed its Terms of Service, effectively ensuring that the GDPR will not automatically apply to non-EU based users.

Wired has an article on a copyright dispute initiated by YouTuber Mars Argo against fellow YouTube vlogger Poppy. Both YouTubers have millions of views online with Argo’s former co-collaborator Titanic Sinclair moving to support Poppy in 2015, leading to Argo alleging that elements of her persona had been appropriated by Sinclair and Poppy following to the move. The resolution of the claim could have great significance for the commercialisation of the YouTube platform, particularly for the production companies which sponsor and support channels.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The FT Adviser and FT has noted that changes to privacy notices a as result of the GDPR could expose advising firms to substantial liability. The Telegraph consider similar implications in its recent letters section.

The Stanford Cyberlaw blog has an article from Danielle Citron entitled “We don’t need a national data center of the poor”. The article focuses on historical calls for a National Data Center and how this has developed into legislative calls for national databases which store data on all recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programme, including the privacy concerns with amassing such a volume of personal data.

Wired uses comment from Mischon de Reya’s Jon Baines to consider the large volume of emails and requests users may be coming across asking for their consent prior to the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation.

The Info Security Blog has analysis of whether consent is required to hold information in a database.


The ICO has a blog post explaining the requirement of obtaining consent under the GDPR, now considered the most stringent legal basis for data processing.      


Privacy International has sent a detailed list of questions to the UK Prime Minister regarding the detention, retention and treatment of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Fatima Boudchar.

Senator Ron Wyden has sent a letter to the FCC regarding a technology company which provides the ability to monitor calls of prison inmates extending its provision to allow police to monitor the phones of anyone in the US without a warrant.

The Guardian is currently seeking submissions from those who have lost benefits due to surveillance by the fraud and error prevention service and provides a case study into such matters.

CNET has an article on how hackers can remotely access security cameras.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

Hacked Off has covered the fact that over 100 academics have written to Parliament to encourage the Government to implement the recommendations of Leveson and complete the Inquiry.



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

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

On 9 May 2018 there was a statement in open court [pdf] in the case of Kozbar v Telegraph Media Group Ltd.

Last Week in the Courts

The trial in the case of Sir Cliff Richard v BBC resumed before Mann J on 8 May 2018 with closing submissions concluding on 9 May 2018 and judgment being reserved.  We had case reports on Day 12 and Day 13 of this trial.

On 8 May 2018 Warby J handed down judgment [2018] EWHC 1054 (QB) in the case of Miah v BBC (heard 26 April 2018).  A number of paragraphs of the Defence were struck out.

On 9 May 2018 Nicol J handed down judgment in the case of Euroeco Fuels (Poland) Ltd & ors v Szczecin & Swinoujscie Seaports Authority SA & ors.  The Court declined jurisdiction to entertain a libel claim based on Article 7(2) of the Recast Brussels Regulation.  There was note about the case on the BP Collins website.

On 10 May 2018, Mann J heard the concluding part of the CMC in the phone hacking and blagging cases of Various Claimants v NGN.  There was a report of the first part of the CMC on

On 11 May 2018 Nicol J handed down judgment in the case of Reid v Newsquest (Midlands South) Ltd. [Update] The trial was of a preliminary issue on meaning.  The judgment is now available at [2018] EWHC 1105 (QB).


Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


The Hoot has covered the sad events in Kabul over the past week, where a bombing killed nine local reporters with ISIS later claiming responsibility for the attack. The article serves to highlight the daily difficulties faced by journalists who cover conflict zones.


Michael Geist has considered the consequences of Springer Nature’s, the multi-national publisher of journals and e-books, intial public offering. The prospectus accompanying the offering can be found here.

Geist has also commented before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics which has recommended the rejection of Bell Media’s Website Blocking Plan.

The National Magazine considers the state of defamation law in Canada.


The Express Tribune has covered the defamation action of Ali Zafar against Meesha Shafi.


The Gambian Supreme Court has ruled that “criminal defamation” and the offence of spreading false news online are unconstitutional.  This decision was welcomed by the Committee to Protect Journalists.


The Independent has a report on an award of libel damages to police inspector Elton Taliana against Malta Today.

United States

Hawaii News Now notes the Hawaii Supreme Court’s overturn of a dismissal in a defamation lawsuit against Hawaii County, a former councilman and private investigator.

Research and Resources


 Data Privacy and Data Protection


Next Week in the Courts 

On 14 May 2018 Warby J will hear applications in the case of Sube v News Group Newspapers.

On the same day Jay J will hear an application for permission to appeal (with appeal to follow if permission granted) against the judgment of Master Fontaine ([2018] EWHC 512 (QB)) in the case of Buzzfeed v Gubarev.

On 15 May 2018 there will be a statement in open court in the case of Lachaux v AOL (Huffington Post).  The claims against the Independent and the Evening Standard continue with the defendants’ appeal to be heard in the Supreme Court in November 2018.

On 16 or 17 May 2018, the Court of Appeal will hear the appeal in the case of TLT v Home Office against the awards of damages by Mitting J (see our case comment here)


The following reserved judgment after public hearings in a media law case is outstanding:

Economou v Freitas, heard 17 and 18 April 2018 (Lewison, Ryder and Sharp LJJ)

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


1 Comment

  1. Christopher Whitmey

    Above you give a link to ‘The ICO has a blog post explaining the requirement of obtaining consent under the GDPR…’

    I’ve added a reply there that awaits moderation:

    ‘As a member of our village garden club I’m grateful for your helpful myth busting. Is the following the truth or Myth #10? Under PECR the club (which has no financial interest) cannot email the club members mentioning books/courses/conferences, which incur a payment, which might interest them because this would be ‘direct marketing’.’

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