Law and Media Round Up – 28 October 2019

28 10 2019

The phone hacking saga continues with Byline Investigates reporting that Sienna Miller and Sir Simon Hughes have launched claims against the Sun.  The family of the late Sir Bobby Robson have also issued similar claims.

Meanwhile, the Guardian has reported that Paul Burrell and James Hewitt have issued phone hacking claims against the Mirror newspapers.  The group also faces claims from  Lily Allen, the model Daisy Lowe, the footballer Stan Collymore, the reality show star Dani Behr, and Eunice Huthart.

More details have emerged about the Megan Merkle’s claim against Associated Newpapers, with Byline Investigates reporting that she is alleging that the Mail on Sunday deliberately omitted parts of her letter to her father.  Meanwhile, the Press Gazette had a piece “Megan Markle says friends warned her British tabloids will ‘destroy your life’”.

On 23 October 2019, a Mail on Sunday journalist was spared a jail sentence after recording a court hearing on her phone, blaming “work pressure”. Angela Johnson admitted being in contempt of court when she made the audio recording of a case involving “persons of interest” from the public gallery at Southwark crown court on 26 September. Edis J sentenced Ms Johnson to 7 days in custody suspended for 12 months and a fine of £500. The Guardian and the Press Gazette had pieces.

On 21 October 2019 the Press Gazette reported that ten journalists attending a hearing for Julian Assange’s US extradition case were left unable to enter the courtroom. Some of those journalists were later allowed in, and the explanation given was that tickets were issues on a first come first served basis, and  around 60 Assange supporters were allowed in, taking up all the seats.

ASA a news that the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) is announcing an open call for evidence on children’s ability to recognise online marketing communications.

Internet and Social Media

The Bar Standards Board has issued new Social Media Guidance. There was a news report in the Times about a Twitter comments which have produced adverse reactions from trans groups.  Barristers were reminded of the consequences of offensive social media comments by a decision last week [pdf] to suspend a barrister from practice for 10 months for comments on Facebook. The Law Society Gazette had a news piece about the decision.

 Facebook has announced it will tackle misinformation and label false posts in an effort to prevent the spread of election interference for the 2020 elections. There was a piece on the Verge and the Press Gazette.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg only disclosed that many of Facebook’s third-party fact checkers are expected to vet adverts as well as user content for misinformation during a debate in Congress over the new cryptocurrency project, Libra. The Guardian had a piece.

 Data Privacy and Data Protection

The Group Litigation Order in the data protection case of Weaver v British Airways, made by Warby J on 4 October 2019 is now available on the Judiciary website [pdf].

DLA Piper Privacy Matters had a post “Germany: data protection authorities issue GDPR fining guidelines”.

Sky News had a piece on data protection experts who have reportedly called on the watchdog to investigate political parties’ use of data, after internal Labour and Conservative records revealed how they will target voters in a general election.

The ICO had a blog post “Data Protection Impact Assessments and AI”.

The Register had a piece on the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) expressing “serious concerns” over whether the contractual terms of agreements between EU institutions and Microsoft, for use of products such as Windows and Office 365, is compliant with data protection rules.

Privacy & Information Security Law Blog had a piece “FTC Brings First Case Against Developers of “Stalking” Apps”.

 Surveillance

The BBC had a piece “Amazon Echo and Google Home owners spied on by apps”.

Google employees are accusing the company’s leadership of developing an internal surveillance tool that they believe will be used to monitor workers’ attempts to organize protests and discuss labor rights. There was a news piece in Time.

Broadcasting

Ofcom has produced its annual report on the BBC.  This highlighted the fact that younger audiences are turning away from BBC news and current affairs”. This was widely reported in the media, including

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

Inforrm had a blog post from Steven Barnett “Journalists must not allow themselves to be used by unscrupulous politicians”.

IPSO

Hacked Off had a blog post “IPSO: Five years of failure”.

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

 Statements in Open Court and Apologies

On 24 October 2019 there was a statement in open court [pdf] in the case of Morgan v Times and Daily Telegraph.  Both newspapers have agreed to pay libel damages and legal costs to Treasury Counsel Alison Morgan QC after suggesting that she was facing criticism for selecting the wrong charges in the 2018 prosecution of international cricketer Ben Stokes and responsible for a decision not to charge fellow England cricketer Alex Hales.  The Brett Wilson blog had a post as did 5RB.

Last Week in the Courts

On 21 October 2019 there was a preliminary issue trial in the case of Triaster Ltd v Dun & Bradstreet Ltd before Jay J  Judgment was reserved.

On 24 October 2019 there was a trial in the case of Lord Sheikh v Associated Newspapers before Warby J.  Judgment was reserved

On 25 October 2019 Steyn J handed down judgment in the meaning case of . Agar v Career Development Finance Ltd  [2019] EWHC 2830 (QB)

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            

Albania

The Council of Europe had a piece “Council of Europe and European Union further their support for freedom of expression and media in Albania”.

Australia

On 18 October 2019 the Supreme Court of Queensland Court of Appeal handed down judgment in the case of Harbour Radio v Wagner [2019] QCA 221.  We had a post on the first instance judgment.  The appeal concerned only the injunction and was dismissed.

The Sidney Morning Herald had a piece “Rare bipartisan consensus on right to privacy”.Since coming to power, the Morrison government has been keen to introduce a new scheme that would allow government agencies, telecos and banks to use facial recognition technology to collect and share images of people across the country.  While there are some benefits to such a system, this has been heavily criticised by human rights groups as an attempt to introduce mass surveillance to Australia and an egregious breach of individual privacy. There was a piece in The Conversation.

The Guardian had a news report “People have a right to be suspicious of journalists’ self-advocacy, but press freedom is important”.

Canada

The Toronto Star had a piece “Patrick Brown tries new tactic to block defamation lawsuit filed by Tory MPP Fedeli.

 India

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) India along with its top executives have also received summons by Delhi Court and a Gurgaon Court in two separate defamation cases filed by Sarvesh Mathur, the firm’s former chief finance officer (CFO). There was a piece in The Hindu Business Line.

The Hindu had a piece “Details of alleged sexual harassment by M.J. Akbar ‘bizarre’, ‘inappropriate’: Priya Ramani’s friend tells court”.

Ireland

The Journal had a piece on John Matthew Berry, a man from Dublin who has brought defamation proceedings against the Garda Commissioner after an image containing his name and photograph on a Garda notice board were circulated on social media. The action has been brought by the man, who the court heard is not a criminal and has no previous convictions, and it is claimed that the Garda briefing bulletin described Mr Berry as an active criminal from Ballyfermot/Labre Park.

United States

Summer Zervos, a former contestant of The Apprentice has presented evidence in court filings to support her claims that the President Trump sexually assaulted her in a hotel room in 2007. She is now suing Trump accusing him of defaming her by denying her allegations. There was a news report in The Guardian.

Umpire Joe West has sued retired player Paul LoDuca for defamation. The former catcher alleges West gave pitcher Bill Wagner a bigger strike zone in exchange for letting the umpire borrow a vintage car. There was a piece on NBC News.

The Hollywood Reporter had a piece “Rachel Maddow: “Russian Propaganda” Just Opinion; Defamation Suit Fails”.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 29 October 2019 there will be a hearing in the case of Abdulrazaq v Hassan .  The claim form and particulars of claim are available on Lawtel [£].

On 31 October and 1 November 2019 there will be a CMC in the case of Various Claimants v News Group Newspapers (the Mobile Telephone Voicemail Interception Litigation) before Mann J.

Judgments

The following reserved judgments after a public hearing in a media law case are outstanding:

Euroeco Fuels (Poland) Limited and ors -v- Szczecin and Swinoujscie Seaports Authority S.A, heard 16 and 17 October 2019 (Lewison, Bean and Baker LJJ).

Triaster Ltd v Dun & Bradstreet Ltd, heard 21 October 2019 (Jay J)

Sheikh v Times Newspapers, heard 24 October 2019 (Warby 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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