In a news week dominated, as usual, by Brexit the newspapers continued with their predictable and entrenched editorial positions.  The vote in Parliament on Saturday was, on the front page of the Mail on Sunday “House of Fools”, in contrast, the Sunday Mirror had the Prime Minister “Humiliated”.  The Guardian had a piece with the front pages and headlines from the various Sunday newspapers. ITV news also had coverage.

The UK’s three letters to the President of the EU Council provided interesting material for legal commentary.  Lord Pannick QC (condemned by the Sun for helping Oliver Letwin) tells readers of the Times that Mr Johnson “obeyed the letter of the law” [£] but the Guardian suggests that he could be held in contempt of court by the Inner House in Edinburgh at a hearing today.

Facebook is unhappy about the CJEU’s recent decision in Glawischnig-Piesczek v Facebook Ireland Ltd (C 18/18), which held that the social media company could be ordered by member states to remove equivalent content, worldwide when content is deemed illegal in a member state.  Mark Zuckerberg criticised the decision and, Facebook’s Vice President of Policy’s blog complained about the ruling.

The European Court of Human Rights in Gürbüz and Bayar v. Turkey, has found that criminal proceedings issued against a newspaper owner and editor for publishing the statements of the leader of a terrorist organisation were justified and did not interfere with article 10 rights. There is an Inforrm case comment by Ronan O Fathaigh and Dirk Voorhoof.

There was an interesting judgment handed down on 11 October 2019 by Master Davison in the case of Mustard v Flower ([2019] EWHC 2623 (QB)) dealing with the admissibility of covertly recorded material being admissible as evidence. There is a post about the case on the Panopticon Blog.

Cyberlegal has an article on the verification and admissibility of e-signatures which provides an insightful analysis of their operation.

Internet and Social Media

In an informative piece BBC News has considered the development of the internet.

The Foreign Policy Blog has analysed the impact of the internet on the news industry.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The Planet 49 case, which considered the validity of pre-ticked consent boxes for cookie use, is discussed on PwC’s Data Protection Blog. The case makes it clear that pre-ticked boxes do not constitute valid consent.

A High Court representative data protection action against Equifax has been issued.  It appears that this is the first such action after the decision in Lloyd v Google earlier this month (see our post on the case).

DLA Piper’s Privacy Matters Blog has considered discussion around the use of binding corporate rules.

The G20 summit has discussed the implementation and protection of digital currencies as well as the need for harmonisation to ensure adequate protection from money laundering, the Japan Times reports. In this context the Guardian has analysed the developments around Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra.


The ICO has considered how to enable access, erasure and rectification rights in AI systems.


Taipei Times has explored the surveillance consequences for the implementation of the 5G network.

Newspapers, Journalism and Regulation

Andrea Carson and Kate Farhall have considered the impact of fake news and its utilisation by politicians in an INFORRM post.

Eoin O’Dell has considered the implications of the failure of the UK to implement verification plans for online porn. In particular, O’Dell considers what this might mean for Ireland.

The press have named a father who has been found to have abused his child after the mother strongly supported the publication, the Press Gazette reports.

The BBC received over 600 complaints regarding comments made by editor Brendan O’Niell’s on Politics Live regarding the matter of Brexit riots. The broadcaster had determined it will not continue to consider the complaints, the Press Gazette reports.



The IPSO Committee has release a resolution statement:

Last Week in the Courts

On 15 October 2019 Steyn J heard an application in the case of Ager v Career Development Finance Ltd & anr

On 16 October 2019 Julian Knowles J handed down judgment in the WhatsApp libel claim of Al Sadik (aka Riad Tawfiq Mahmood Al Sadek Aka Riad Tawfik Sadik) v Sadik [2019] EWHC 2717 (QB).  The defendant’s applications for strike out and summary judgment were dismissed. There was a 5RB case comment.

On the same day Julian Knowles J handed down judgment in the libel case of Fox v Wiggins & Ors [2019] EWHC 2713 (QB).  Default judgment against the sixth defendant was set aside.

On the same day Richard Spearman QC heard an application in the case of Feyziyev v Radu

On 17 October 2019 Griffiths J handed down judgment in Roundshield Partners LLP v Ciudad Real International Airport SL & Ors [2019] EWHC 2733 (QB) – the judgment noted that the claim for defamation was abandoned on the first day.


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Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


Member of the Legislative Council Mark Latham has settled a defamation claim brought by University of NSW student Mohamed Nizamdeen, who he had accused of “plotting to kill senior federal MPs”.


Michael Geist’s LawBytes Podcast considers the digital policy issues coming to the forefront of the 2019 election. In an article Giest specifically considers the matter of copyright reform.

The UK and Canada will be signing a data sharing agreement reminiscent of the Cloud Act, to facilitate data sharing with the purpose of tackling serious crime, the Privacy Lawyer has taken a look at the proposals.


The Times of India has considered the failings of Indian privacy and data security laws following a recent study.

Hong Kong

Aljazeera has considered the implementation of internet restrictions and what it would mean for Hong Kong.

Latin America

Privacy International has discusses how technology has reinforced structural inequality, particularly the application of surveillance.

New Zealand

Diver Vernon Unsworth’s defamation claim against Elon Musk has passed the depositions stage. Forbes comments.

United States

A jury in Wisconsin has awarded $450,000 defamation damages to the father of a boy killed in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook school, in a claim against a conspiracy theorist writer. In June 2019 the judge ruled that James Fetzer had defamed Leonard Pozner by claiming he had fabricated the death certificate of his son Noah

The Stanford Cyberlaw Blog has analysed the UK-US Cloud Act, finding a flaw in relation to the interception of data.

Internetcases has covered the admissibility of hyperlinked terms and conditions, which has been found to have constituted reasonable notice in a recent case against TripAdvisor. The Blog has also considered the application of s.43(a) of the Lanham Act to domain names.

The Data Protection Report has covered the most recent amendments to the California Consumer Privacy Act being signed into force.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 21 October 2019 the trial in the case of Triaster Ltd v Dun & Bradstreet Ltd will be heard by Jay J.

On 24 October 2019 there will be a trial in the case of Lord Sheikh v Associated Newspapers.


We are not aware of any reserved judgments after public hearings in media law cases which are outstanding.  Please let us know of any judgments which should be included here.

This round up was compiled by Suneet Sharma a junior legal professional with a particular interest and experience in media, information and privacy law.