Law and Media Round Up, End of Summer Break – 30 September 2019

30 09 2019

The Michaelmas Term legal term begins on Tuesday 1 October 2019 and the (intermittent) Inforrm summer break comes to an end today.  This post includes significant developments over the previous few weeks, since our Law and Media Summer Round Up.

The top 5 summer break posts were

Over the summer Suneet Sharma’s post “Top 10 Defamation Cases of 2017, a selection” became the most viewed Inforrm post of all time, overtaking the 2016 post “Case Law: PJS v News Group Newspapers, Court of Appeal grants privacy injunction by Sara Mansoori and Aidan Wills“,

News Round Up

On 9 September 2019, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee published a report in which  it stated that the campaign and other recently-launched initiatives amounted to a “good start” towards defending media freedom worldwide, but that the UK ought to “go further”. The Press Gazette had an article.

On 13 September the Press Gazette had a piece “Government won’t appeal ruling  which stopped full probe into Saudi investments in Standard and independent”. The Independent also had an article.

On 17 September, the Sun newspaper published on its cover an intrusive story about Ben Stokes, the England cricketer, and his family. The Sun’s article was condemned by Ben Stokesand it received wide coverage by the international press including the Press Gazette, BBC Sport, The Times of India, the Law Society Gazette and Hacked Off had a blog post.  There were Inforrm posts from Peter Coe, Rebecca Moosavian and Brett Wilson.

On 19 September, The Committee to Protect Journalists had a blog post about the CJP joining 21 other press freedom and freedom of expression organizations in sending an open letter to Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejcinovic Buric, calling on her to prioritize press freedom and the safety of journalists among the council’s 47 member states.

On 25 September, Hacked Off had a press release warning of “dangerous reporting” by tabloid press in light of Supreme Court decision on Parliament prorogation.

The Guardian had a piece on the Sandra Muller, a woman who launched a  French version of the #MeToo campaign to expose abusive male behaviour, been found guilty of defaming a media executive she accused of making lewd and sexist remarks.

ASA had a news about their new report which reveals that people struggle to identify when social media posts by influencers are ads, and confirms that our current approach of requiring influencers to use a prominent reference, such as #ad, is necessary as a minimum.

The Guardian had an article “Growing backlash against BBC in Naga Munchetty race row”.

Internet and Social Media

On 10 September 2019 the Press Gazette had a piece on Google changing its search engine algorithms globally to keep original reporting at the top of results for longer.

The Press Gazette reported that Google has refused to pay to show news stories in its search results in France, where the first new European Copyright Directive-based legislation is being introduced next month, but it will instead remove the short previews of news stories. The new Article 15 (formerly Article 11) of the European Copyright Directive was adopted by the European Council in April 2019.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

On 24 September, The Guardian had a piece on the landmark ruling of the European Court of Justice which said that the “right to be forgotten” online does not extend beyond the borders of the European Union and arch engine operators faced no obligation to remove information outside the 28-country zone.  Inforrm, IPKat and Brett Wilson’s blog had posts. The news was widely covered by the international press, including the Press Gazette, the BBC, CNBC, France24 and Los Angeles Times.

The Data Matters blog from Mischon de Reya had a piece “Children’s data protection rights: a data protection casualty?”.

On 12 September, the ICO blog had a post “Privacy attacks on AI models”.

On 17 September, the ICO website reported it has fined a Swansea double-glazing company £150,000 for making nuisance calls, and for calling numbers which were registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and who had not given their consent to receive them.

Hawktalk had a blog post “When are facial recognition systems, used for law enforcement, not subject to a data regime?”.

Surveillance

Wired had a post “ New surveillance tech means you’ll never be anonymous again”.

The Institute called on the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office to provide more detailed information about warrants seeking journalists’ digital data and information that could identify their sources. The Press Gazette had a piece.

Naked Security had a post “Report: Use of AI surveillance is growing around the world”.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

On 5 September 2019, Press Gazette had a piece “Rotherham Advertiser wins battle to overturn reporting restrictions on grooming gang members”.

On 6 September 2019, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she had no role in a legal bid aimed at preventing a newspaper from publishing a story about a prisoner’s death. There was a piece in the Press Gazette.

IPSO

On 17 September IPSO announced a change to its rules and regulations. On 23 September the Press Gazette had a piece, content primarily aimed at overseas readers published by UK-based news websites with newsrooms in other countries, such as Mail Online, is now formally exempt from complying with IPSO guidelines.

On 19 September, IPSO’s issued a press release “Coverage relating to Ben Stokes and Gareth Thomas”, stating that it was not able to comment on individual cases but takes all complaints seriously.

IPSO has published a number of rulings and resolutions statements since our last Round Up:

 In the Courts over the Summer Vacation

The following media law judgments have handed down since the last weekly Round Up on 29 July 2019:

Events

Please let us know if there are any events we should be drawing to the attention of our readers. 

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

Australia

In the case of Poniatowska v Channel Seven Sydney [2019] SASCFC 111, the full Court allowed the plaintiff’s appeal against the Judge’s dismissal of her defamation action and entered judgment of damages to be assessed.

In the case of Doe v Dowling [2019] NSWSC 1222 Fagan J entered judgment for four anonymised plaintiffs in the sum of $150,000 each in respect of defamatory internet publications making sensational and salacious allegations of a sexual nature.

In Hayson v The Age Company Pty Ltd [2019] FCA 1538 Bromwich J held that a previously published “bad reputation” articles were not admissible in evidence in mitigation of damage.

Former Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns is suing the Sunday Telegraph in the supreme court of Victoria for publishing a front-page story which alleged that the notorious Sydney brothel The Kastle had become his second home. The Guardian had a piece.

Australian billionaire and political party leader Clive Palmer is threatening to sue an Australian YouTuber over what he says are defamatory statements. In statements made by YouTube creator Jordan Shanks on the channel Friendly Jordies, Shanks calls Palmer, “Fatty McF—head” and a “dense Humpty Dumpty.” Business Insider had an article.

Canada 

In the case of Huff v Zuk, 2019 ABQB 691 K D Nixon J awarded the plaintiff defamation damages of $50,000 in action between two dentists.

Hong Kong

The BBC had a piece “How Hong Kong protesters avoid police surveillance”.

Malta

The Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner has urged Malta to drop libel lawsuits against murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, according to a letter to the country’s leader. The Guardian had an article.

 Scotland

The Court of Session will hear an appeal by a prominent pro-independence blogger who lost his legal case against former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale. Stuart Campbell of the Wings Over Scotland blog accused Ms Dugdale of defamation after she claimed he had sent “homophobic tweets”. The BBC had a piece.

Turkey

The Committee to Protect Journalists had a blog post “CPJ joins call to UN rights council for end to press crackdown in Turkey”.

United States

The Washington Post had an article “A newspaper reported that a man’s ancestors were slaveholders. He’s suing for defamation.”

One America News sued Rachel Maddow for more than $10 million for defamation after she called the conservative television network “paid Russian propaganda.” CBS News had a piece.

Virginia’s Democratic lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, filed a $400 million defamation lawsuit against CBS , accusing the network of amplifying sexual assault claims that Fairfax says are “false, defamatory and politically-motivated.” The CNN had a piece.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On Monday 30 September 2019 Nicklin J will hand down judgment in the case of AAA v Rakoff (heard 30 July 2019).

On Wednesday 2 October 2019 the Court of Appeal (Sharp P, Vos C and Davis LJ) will hand down judgment in the data protection case of Lloyd v Google LLC (heard 16 and 17 July 2019).

Judgments

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

Sadik v Sadik, heard 2 April 2019 (Julian Knowles J).

Please let us know if there are other reserved judgments which should be added to this list.

This Round Up was compiled by Nataly Tedone, an LPC student with a particular interest in media law

 


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