Law and Media Round Up – 25 November 2019 [Updated]

25 11 2019

The main political parties have now released their election manifestos. The Labour, Green and Lib Dem manifestos include commitments to implementation of the Leveson proposals and the holding of Leveson Part 2.

The Conservative manifesto [pdf] repeats previous promises to repeal section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2014 and to scrap Leveson Part 2. It goes on to say that a Conservative government will legislate “to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online – protecting children from online abuse and harms”, whilst “recognising and defending the invaluable role of a free press” – suggesting that the regulation will not extend to harmful content on newspaper websites.

The Liberal Democrats and the SNP’s legal action against ITV for excluding them from election debates concluded this week. The parties unsuccessfully argued that the move breached impartiality rules.  The judges, Davis LJ and Warby J, released a short summary of their decision [pdf] – with a full judgment to follow later.  The Press Gazette reports.

Paul Bernal considers the rebranding of the Conservative Party’s Twitter account as FactcheckUK and its implications for the politicising of facts.

Internet and Social Media

The Guardian has an opinion piece discussing the Labour proposal for the provision of free internet access. The New York Times has also considered proposals.

TechRadar has a piece on the rise of the Internet of Things.

The Winnipeg Free Press has analysed the impact social media has on law enforcement.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The Court of Appeal have granted permission to appeal in the facial recognition technology case of Bridges v Chief Constable of South Wales PoliceThere is a report in the Law Society Gazette.

EU member states have rejected a draft of the ePrivacy Regulation.

InformationWeek has released an Enterprise Guide to Data Privacy.

The Washington Post comments on the ongoing debate around the implementation of federal privacy legislation.

The Data Matters Blog has a post suggesting that British Airways and Marriot International may potentially avoid GDPR fines. The Blog has also considered whether the ICO is taking action in the adtech space in the coming year.

The Social Media Law Bulletin has considered the application of regulation to AI systems.

ICO

The ICO has submitted its Age Appropriate Design Code of Practice to the government.

The ICO has released a Blog post on data ethics and the digital economy.

Surveillance

EFF is campaigning to end government surveillance.

The Irish Times has commented on how surveillance by Facebook and Google presents a threat to human rights.

Newspapers, Journalism and Regulation

The Transparency Project Blog has analysed the new Practice Direction 30B which provides for transparency of family court appeals.

The Press Gazette considers Labours proposals regarding tackling fake news.

IPSO

Rulings

There are no new rulings from IPSO this week.

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

We are not aware of any statements in open court in the past week.

Last Week in the Courts

The appeal in the case of Burki v Seventy Thirty Ltd was listed for 20 or 21 November 2019 hwoever, according to the EWCA Case tracker, the appeal was “allowed” on 19 November 2019.  No judgment or order has been published.

The trial in the case of Turley v Unite the Union concluded before Nicklin J on 19 November 2019.  Judgment was reserved.

On 21 November 2019, Steyn J heard an application in the case of UUU v BBB.  Judgment was handed down on 22 November 2019.  The judgment is now available on Bailii [2019] EWHC 3190 (QB). The Judge extended an interim harassment injunction to trial.  It does not appear that the anonymity order in this case has been published on the Judiciary Website under CPR 39.2(5).

On 22 November 2019 Nicklin J handed down judgment in the case of Chandler v O’Connor [2019] EWHC 3181 (QB).  On an application for summary relief damages were assessed in the sum of £10,000 and an order was made for the publication of a suitable correction or apology or, in default of agreement, a summary of the Court’s judgment.

Events

27 November 2019, Defamation, Data, Privacy: Shaping the New Law, White Paper Conference, The Caledonian Club, 9 Halkin Street, London SW1X 7DR [£]

28 November 2019, SCL Privacy and Data Protection Group event: Transitioning from GDPR to global compliance, Kemp Little LLP, 138 Cheapside, London EC2V 6BJ [£]

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

Australia

In the case of Wagner & Ors v Nine Network Australia & Ors [2019] QSC 284 [pdf] Applegarth J awarded each of the four plaintiffs $600,000 defamation damages against Nine Network and $300,000 against journalist Nick Cater.  The damages awards were to reflect the gravity of the defamations, the extent of their publication and the distress and other harm caused by a 60 Minutes program and by the Nine Network’s unjustifiable or improper conduct.  The defamation publication concerned a report about the fatal 2011 Grantham floods.  There was a report about the judgment in the Guardian

The Attorney General has announced that there would be a meeting of state and territory attornies general to discuss major reform of Australia’s defamation laws.  There is a report in the Sydney Morning Herald and one in the Guardian entitled Australia’s ‘unworkable’ defamation laws: what the government’s changes could mean.

Judgment will be handed down on Monday 25 November 2019 in the case of Hanson-Young v Leyonhjlem.  There is a report in the Guardian.

The Guardian reports that a Facebook group for residents of the Sydney suburb of Rose Bay has been shut down after defamation threats.

Canada

It is reported that the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has dismissed a CA$210 million defamation claim filed by Subway against the CBC, which had reported the sandwich chain may have been selling some poultry products that were only 50 percent chicken DNA. The case was dismissed under the anti-SLAPP legislation.

A Federal Court has issued a major website blocking order for GoldTV streaming websites at the request of Bell, Rogers and Groupe TVA. Michael Geist comments.

The Privacy Lawyer has released some slides on the issue of Surveillance Technology and Law from the Canadian Security Association Atlantic Chapter.

China

The Privacy Matters Blog has highlighted that Chinese authorities are cracking down on infringing Chinese apps.

France

The French data protection authority, the CNIL, has released its report on facial recognition.

Iran

Following protests on 15 November 2019 the Iran government imposed an internet shutdown which has been the subject of much commentary- the Telegraph, USA Today, and PBS Newshour comment.

Ireland

The Irish Times reports that a Circuit Civil Court judge has dismissed a slander claim over whether a customer had paid for a €1 Marks and Spencer shopping bag as bein “over the top”.

Another Circuit Court Judge ordered a 21-year-old mother, who claimed she was defamed when shop staff accused her of stealing a toy rattle for her year old child, to pay the legal costs of an unsuccessful claim against Dealz Retailing Ireland and its security firm.

New Zealand

First leader Winston Peters’ has threatened to sue Nick Smith for $30m if he refuses to apologise for comments he made in relation to the transparency of the New Zealand First Foundation.

Sweden

The “#Metoo” defamation trial of a claim arising out of an allegation of rape by a journalist against another journalist began on Thursday 21 November 2019.

United States

A New York judge has ordered the defamation trial of the claim against Elon Musk for his “pedo guy” comments about cave diver Vernon Unsworth to be begin on 3 December 2019.

It is reported that JonBenet Ramsey’s brother has settled his $750 million defamation claim against CBS over a 2016 documentary.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 25 November 2019, Warby J will deal with paper applications in the following cases:  RPB v HMRC, Sarwar v Negahbani, Sarayiah v Wlliams, Fernard v Mulligan, Hathi v Associated Newspapers and Bourne v Nejad.

On 26 November 2019 there will be an application a trial in the case of Kirkegaard v Smith before Julian Knowles J.

On the same day there will be an application in the case of KOB v BTK before Saini J.  It does not appear that the anonymity order in this case has been published on the Judiciary Website under CPR 39.2(5).

Judgments

The following reserved judgments after public hearings in media law cases are outstanding:

W M Morrison Supermarkets plc v Various Claimants, heard 6 and 7 November 2019 (Lady Hale and Lords Reed, Kerr, Hodge and Lloyd-Jones)

Turley v Unite the Union, heard 11 to 15 and 19 November 2019 (Nicklin J)

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

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


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