Law and Media Round Up – 16 December 2019

16 12 2019

The Michaelmas Term ends on 20 December 2019.  The winter legal vacation will last until 13 January 2020 when the Hilary term begins.  This is the last round up of this term.

In the week of the election The Conversation has a post entitled “UK election 2019:  public resistance to fact checking”

On 12 December 2019 Mr Justice Saini handed down the judgement in a trial of a preliminary issue as to meaning in the case of Banks v Cadwalladr [2019] EWHC3451 (QB)the claim by Brexiteer Aaron Banks against journalist Carol Cadwalladr. The claim concerned two public talks and two tweets.  In his judgement Mr Justice Saini drew the same conclusions for one of the talks and one tweet, that in the context of the entire speech the words used in fact meant there were “substantial grounds to investigate” whether Banks would be willing to accept Russian government funds, in violation of prohibitions on foreign electoral funding. The Judge’s  conclusion was different in relation to the second public talk (Ted Talk) and tweet, where Ms Cadwalladr said: “And I’m not even going to go into the lies that Arron Banks has told about his covert relationship with the Russian government”, where he ruled that these were statements of fact, rather than calls for any investigations. The case will proceed at trial. There was a piece on the Press Gazette and The Guardian.

The Times has agreed to apologies and  pay damages to Iman Abdullah Patel.  He took part in the BBC’s live televised Tory leadership debate questioning the candidate on issues of islamophobia, which led to Boris Johnson agreeing to conduct a formal investigation into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party if he became its leader. Two days after the debate, The Times reported that he had blamed Israel for the 2003 “Islamist” murder of a British police officer and that a school that he ran was warned by Ofsted for segregating parents. Each of these published allegations was untrue. The statement of correction was published in The Times print edition on election day, 12 December 2019, and online . There was a news piece on the Rahman Lowe Solicitor’s website who were acting for Iman Patel and an article on the Press Gazette.

The Law Society Gazette had a piece “‘Heir hunter’ agrees £40,000 damages over defamatory emails”.

On 11 December 2019 ASA launched the CAP Bitesize to assist small and medium businesses learn the ad rules.

ASA also has a news piece “Avoiding ‘Fake Views’- A guide to testimonials and endorsements”.

Internet and Social Media

The IPKat blog had a post “General Election 2019 – possible copyright infringement, actually”.

A US study suggests that adolescents who are active on social media may be more likely to exercise excessively, skip meals or develop other forms of disordered eating. There was a piece on Reuters.

A civil court in Rome ruled that Facebook has must immediately reactivate the account of the Italian neo-fascist party CasaPound and pay the group damages for each day the account has been closed. There was an article in The Guardian.

LSE Media Policy Project had a piece “New Global Kids Online findings show that the internet use can increase children’s opportunities and build digital skills”.

Forbes had a piece “Social Media Is Failing To Eliminate Fake Content”.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

On 13 December 2019 Bloomberg had a piece on Facebook losing a copy of personal details of 29,000 of its employees after hard drives containing unencrypted payroll information were stolen from an employee’s car.

Hawktalk had a piece “Chuck the DPA2018 and GDPR away; say hello to the UK_GDPR and a revised DPA2018 in February next year”.

Privacy group Privacy International has issued a series of freedom of information request in relation to the deal signed between the UK and Amazon to allow the latter to use NHS data for free on its Alexa virtual assistant platform. The Department of Health and Social Care has released its contract with Amazon and according to the group, the content of the contract is to a large extent redacted and that it would contest the department’s decision for the public interest. The contract started from 14 December 2018 and will be in effect till 15 October 2024. It allows Amazon to use content from the NHS website to give reliable and informative answers to basic health questions asked to Alexa. There was a piece on Government Computing Network.

Mischon de Reya Data Matters had a post “ICO has issued only 3 notices of intent to serve GDPR fines”.

Surveillance

The Guardian had a piece “Ring hackers are reportedly watching and talking to strangers via in-home cameras”. Multiple incidents of Ring being hacked have been reported in Florida, Texas and Georgia. In Cape Coral, Fla., a hacker gained access into a couple’s Ring camera and made racist comments about their son.

Ring said that they take their devices’ security very seriously, but that the incidents are not related to a breach of security protocols and hackers were able to obtain a user’s login credentials from an outside, non-Ring device and use that same information to log into the Ring device. “Upon learning of the incident, we took appropriate actions to promptly block bad actors from known affected Ring accounts and affected users have been contacted,” Ring says. There was a news piece on the Time.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

On 11 December 2019 The Guardian had a piece “How Apple News editors quietly influence UK’s election reading”.

Hacked off had a blog post “Guest blog: What happens when the PR becomes the story?”.

IPSO

On 13 December 2019 IPSO issued a press release where it started that articles published by Buzzfeed and The Guardian were a misrepresentation of IPSO’s anti-harassment private advisory notice service and complaints handling.

IPSO has published one ruling and resolution statements since our last Round Up:

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

On Monday 9 December 2019 there was a statement in open court [pdf] in the case of Turvey v Finders Genealogists before Jay J.

Last Week in the Courts

On Tuesday 10 December 2019, Nicol J heard the trial in the case of Elphicke MP v Times Newspapers Limited.  Judgment was reserved.

On the same day Julian Knowles J handed down judgment in the case of Oliver v Shaikh [2019] EWHC 3389 (QB).  A harassment injunction was granted to restrain harassment of a Circuit Judge.

On 11 December 2019, Nicklin J heard the trial of preliminary issues on meaning and opinion in the case of Riley v Sivier.

On 11 December 2019 Julian Knowles J handed down judgment in the case Kirkegaard v Smith  [2019] EWHC 3393 (QB).

As already mentioned, on 12 December 2019 Saini J handed down judgment in Banks v Cadwalladr [2019] EWHC 3451 (QB),

On the same day Jay J handed down judgment in the case of Triaster Ltd v Dun & Bradstreet Ltd,  [2019] EWHC 3433 (QB).  The judge held that a credit report was not defamatory.  There was a news report on the 5RB website.

Jay J then  heard an application in the case of Wright v Granath before Jay J. Judgment was reserved.

Events                                      

6 February 2020, 5RB Manchester half day conference, Manchester Art Gallery.

Please let us know if you have any events which you would like to be listed.

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

Australia

Channel Seven has settled a defamation claim with members of the Yirrkala Aboriginal community over the use of images of adults from Yirrkala in the backdrop to a controversial sunrise segment calling for Aboriginal children to be adopted by white families. The network was found to have breached broadcast standards with the “highly offensive” segment and the federal court approved a settlement between members of the Yirrkala Aboriginal Community and the television network, after members of the community sued for defamation, breach of privacy, breach of confidence, race discrimination and breach of Australian consumer law. There was a piece on The Guardian.

The Sydney Morning Herald had a piece “ABC, Nine lose High Court bid in Chau Chak Wing defamation case”.

India

The Economic Times had a piece “Google India to face trial in pre-2009 defamation case “.

Ireland  

Leon Diop won an appeal for defamation at the High court against Luas. Mr Diop claimed that one of the tram security guard racially profiled him and his brother. Mr Justice Robert Barr found there was a “fleeting defamation” of Mr Diop but, “having regard to the fact it was almost immediately expunged”, he could not find any lasting damage to his reputation or good name and  he awarded nominal damages of €500 and granted Mr Diop his costs in the High and Circuit Courts. There was a piece on the Irish Times.  We had an Inforrm case comment.

Malta

The Prime Minister’s former chief of staff, Keith Schembri, has dropped two libel suits instituted against Daphne Caruana Galizia over allegations that he had received large sums of money from people close to Azerbaijani politicians. Four other libel suits filed by the prime minster, were adjourned to March. Times of Malta had an article.

New Zealand

On 12 December 2019 Clark J handed down judgment in the defamation and privacy case of Driver v Radio New Zealand Limited [2019] NZHC 3275.

United States

The Guardian had a news report on Atlanta’s leading newspaper to take on Clint Eastwood’s latest film, Richard Jewell, in an argument about the on-screen portrayal of one its legendary reporters. The paper says the depiction in the movie of now-deceased reporter Kathy Scruggs, is “offensive” and “highly defamatory”.

Nevada Supreme Court dismiss a lawsuit filed by Tarkanian against Rosen claiming he was defamed in campaign ads aired during the 2016 election cycle. The lawsuit revolved around television and social media ads that surfaced in the final weeks of the election that used Tarkanian’s role as the registered agent for companies that acted as fronts for fraudulent charities.  Las Vegas Review Journal had a piece.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 16 December 2019 there will be a trial in case of Onwude v Dyer & Ors before Richard Spearman QC.  The claim is by a litigant in person in relation to an article in the BMJ on 22 December 2016. The claim form and particulars of claim are available on Lawtel [£].  The trial is listed for 3 days

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)

Triplark v Northwood Hall & Ors,  heard 5 December 2019 (Warby J)

United Kingdom Independence Party Ltd v Braine & Ors, 6 December 2019 (Warby J).

Elphicke MP v Times Newspapers Limited, heard 10 December 2019 (Nicol J).

Wright v Granath, heard 12 December 2019 (Jay 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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