Law and Media Round Up – 14 October 2019

14 10 2019

On 8 October 2019, Ben Stokes was once again the subject of widespread press coverage when pictures which were said to show the England player acting aggressively towards his wife face after the Professional Cricketers’ Association Awards. Ben Stokes’ wife Clare has denied as “nonsense” allegations the couple had a physical altercation. There was a piece on the BBC website.

On 10 October 2019 Byline Investigates reported that Ben Stokes is suing the Sun for breach of privacy over family tragedy story published on 17 September, which revealed details about the deaths of Stokes’ mother’s children from a previous relationship three decades ago. There was a piece on the Press Gazette , The Guardian and Hacked Off.

On 9 October 2019 Coleen Rooney claimed in a statement published on Twitter that the Sun has published three stories she made up in order to find the source of a suspected leak to the tabloid. In the process, Coleen publicly outed Rebekah Vardy as the alleged source of the leaks. Rebekah Vardy, who vehemently denied this and claimed to have been hacked, has engaged forensic IT specialists to prove it. There was a piece in The Guardian, and the news received wide coverage in the national press including the Press Gazette, Sky News, The Times and there was an Inforrm post.

Russia and North Korea media outlets have announced they will join forces to tackle ‘fake news’, there was a piece in The Washington Times and the news was widely covered by the international press, including The Moscow Times, the Press Gazette and The Telegraph.

The ASA website had a news report “Consumers warned of Thomas Cook refund scams”.

Hacked Off had a press release “Hacked Off: IPSO’s credibility sinking without a trace, as updated MST Report finds body fails more Leveson criteria than 2013 Report”.

Internet and Social Media

Forbes had a piece “Social Media Is Fostering A Big Rise In Real-World Stalking”.

Police in Tokyo arrested a man who  tracked down a pop star using a combination of her own selfies and Google Street View. By enlarging the photos, the suspect Hibiki Sato was allegedly able to discern telling details indicating which train station the victim commuted from. There was a piece on CBS News and The Guardian.

Apple is defending the company’s decision to remove an app used by Hong Kong protesters to coordinate movements and avoid concentrations of police. There was a piece on The Guardian. news received wide coverage in the international press including The New York Times, CNBS and the BBC.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

Privacy Matters had a post “EU: final verdict on CJEU in the cookie checkbox riddle”.

Data Protection Report had a piece on the UK and US governments signing the first bilateral Data Access Agreement which seeks to facilitate faster and more direct access by each country’s agencies in criminal matters  to electronic information held by companies in the other jurisdiction.

The Guardian had a piece “ Alexa, are you invading my privacy?- the dark side of our voice assistants”.

Hunton Privacy blog had a post on the California Governor Gavin Newsom, who announced that he signed all five of the California Legislature’s September 2019 amendments to the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”).

The European Data Protection Board had a news “European Data Protection Board – Fourteenth Plenary session”.

Surveillance

Bloomberg had a piece “Clash Over Surveillance Software Turns Personal in Germany”.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation made tens of thousands of unauthorized searches related to US citizens between 2017 and 2018, a court ruled. The agency violated both the law that authorized the surveillance program they used and the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. The ruling which has just made public, was made in October 2018. The Verge had a piece.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The Guardian had a letter from Christopher Jefferies published under the headline“The press were never in a post-Leveson straitjacket”.

On the 7 October 2019 the Press Gazette reported that Ofcom has found that Naga Munchetty’s remarks on BBC Breakfast about a tweet by Donald Trump would not have breached its due impartiality rules had it fully investigated complaints made to it. The Ofcom website had a news release.

 The Press Gazette had a piece “Stop ‘gratuitously’ publishing ‘titillating’ detail about terrorist incidents, commission tells media”.

IPSO

The Media Standards Trust has published a report “IPSO Five years on” [pdf].  This is the subject of a Hacked Off press release “Hacked Off: IPSO’s credibility sinking without a trace, as updated MST Report finds body fails more Leveson criteria than 2013 Report”.

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

Last Week in the Courts

The trial in the case of Roundshield Partners LLP v Ciudad Real International Airport SL & ors was heard by Griffiths J on 7, 8, 10 and 11 October 2019.  Judgment was reserved.

On 7 October 2019 Warby J held a PTR in the case of Birmingham City council v Afsar & ors.  For an interim judgment in the same action, see [2019] EWHC 1560 (QB).

On the same day, in Bourne v Nejad ([2019] EWHC 2605 (QB)), Steyn J granted defaulted judgment in favour of a partner at law firm Knights, granting an injunction to prevent a former Oxford University student making “false and damaging allegations”, notably the publication of certain defamatory words, against him.

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

Brisbane Times had a piece on the Queensland Police Service which has been ordered to apologise and pay nearly Aus$18,000 to an Australian Defence Force Reserve member after providing too much information about his Brisbane hotel arrest to the ADF.

Canada

In Wilson v. Wilson, 2019 ONSC 5726 damages in the total sum of $16,000 were awarded against three defendants in respect of defamatory posts on Facebook.

In Weisleder v. OSSTF, 2019 ONSC 5830 a claim in respect of a libel circulated at the AGM of the Occasional Teachers’ Bargaining Unit District 12 was dismissed on the ground that the words had been published on an occasion of qualified privilege.

Germany

The UK Human Rights Blog had a post “Holocaust denial in a parliamentary speech: criminal conviction not a breach of Article 10”.

India

The Economic Times had a piece “Rahul Gandhi pleads not guilty in defamation case; gets bail”.

Ireland

Two Belfast law firms have received apologies over untrue newspaper claims that they made millions of pounds as part of a “witch hunt” into killings by British soldiers, The Irish Times had a piece. The news was also reported in the Belfast Telegraph.

Italy

The Committee to Protect Journalists had a piece “‘I was the first to lose my freedom’: How police protection impacts Italy’s investigative reporters”.

Malta

Two news articles which were judged to be “not at all defamatory” just last week have been deemed libellous and of “malicious intent” by a separate appeals court. The articles reported allegations that Mr Schembri had used fraudulent documents to open companies in tax havens. It was held that editors of The Malta Independent must pay €5,000 in damages, plus legal costs, for two articles published in May 2016 concerning OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri and his business partner Malcolm Scerri. Times Malta had a piece.

Unites States

According to court filings in the defamation lawsuit, Elon Musk overruled advice from his inner circle at Tesla and SpaceX that he offer a “genuine” apology and take a Twitter break after using the social media platform to attack a critic last year. Forbes had an article.

The Verge had a piece “Former Tinder execs call ex-CEO’s defamation suit a ‘public smear campaign’”.

The Oberlin Review had a news piece on Oberlin College announcing it will appeal the June jury verdict that sided with Gibson’s Bakery.

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press had a piece “Outcome of NY defamation case could impose unrealistic burdens on media”.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 15 October 2019 there will be an application in the case of Ager v Career Development Ltd.

On 16 October 2019 there will be a hearing in the case of Feyziyev v The Journalism Development Network Association & anr.  There was a trial of a preliminary issue on meaning in April 2019 ([2019] EWHC 957 (QB))

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).

Roundshield Partners LLP v Ciudad Real International Airport SL & ors heard 7, 8, 10 and 11 October 2019.   (Griffiths 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 who is a media and entertainment paralegal.


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