Law and Media Round Up – 27 January 2020

27 01 2020

It has been reported that Arron Banks has dropped two of his libel claims against investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr.  The action will, however, continue in relation to a Ted Talk and one tweet.

Ms Cadwalladr told the Press Gazette: “It’s very good news that he’s given up with two of [the claims] but it’s just ridiculous that he’s continuing with the other two. “It just shows how vulnerable all journalists are to threats and intimidation from somebody they had been investigating and reporting on.”

Inforrm received record numbers of views for Paul Wragg’s two part post on the Mail on Sunday’s Defence in the Meghan Markle privacy and copyright case, “A Study in Poverty, Part 1 and Part 2).

The Guardian had a piece “Jeff Bezos hack: Amazon boss’s phone ‘hacked by Saudi crown prince”.

Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan has issued a Public Interest Intervention Notice after she decided there should an investigation into whether the Daily Mail and General Trust’s £49.6m purchase of the i paper from JPI Media adversely affects the plurality of views in the UK newspaper market.

The Competition and Markets Authority must now report back to her on jurisdictional and competition matters, and Ofcom must report on the public interest plurality concerns, by 13 March. The Press Gazette had a piece.

There was an article in the Guardian by columnist Owen Jones “What my attacker’s conviction taught me about taking on the far right”.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it is investigating whether Future’s proposed acquisition of TI Media could harm competition.

The publisher announced it planned to acquire magazine printer TI Media for £140m in cash. The CMA said it was considering whether the merger would create a situation that “may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition”. There was a piece on City A.M.

There was a new on the Ofcom’s website “Ofcom publishes framework to improve fairness for customers”.

Internet and Social Media

On 21 January 2020, the Information Commissioner’s Office has published its final Age Appropriate Design Code, a set of 15 standards that online services should meet to protect children’s privacy. There was a news on the ICO’s website and a piece on Mishcon De Reya Data Matters blog.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The Press Gazette had a piece “Why Harry and Meghan are better equipped to protect their privacy in England than Canada”.

Microsoft briefly exposed call center data on almost 250 million customers via several unsecured cloud servers late last year, according to researchers. Most personally identifiable information (PII) was redacted from the records, but “many” apparently contained customer email and IP addresses, support agent emails and internal notes and descriptions of CSS cases. Microsoft was praised for acting swiftly to lock down the exposed servers and secured all data within days. Infosecurity Magazine had a piece.

Surveillance

The Metropolitan police has announced it will deploy live facial recognition (LFR) cameras linked to powerful computers on London’s streets. The system would launch next month and would be aimed at catching serious criminals and tracking down missing persons. The news was widely covered by the national press, including The Guardian, the CNN and Sky News Australia.

The MET decision was greeted with scepticism from experts over how efficient the system is and widespread concerns over civil liberties. The Law Society Gazette had a piece on civil liberties group heading to the Court of Appeal to challenge police deployment of automated facial recognition technology has condemned a London police force’s decision to deploy the technology. The ICO’s website had a statement “ ICO statement in response to an announcement made by the Metropolitan Police Service on the use of live facial recognition”.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The BBC had a piece “Fergal Keane: BBC Africa editor leaves role because of PTSD”.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland warns journalists when members of a paramilitary group or criminal gang have issued a threat against them, but will not say where it originates from to protect their own intelligence sources. Journalists based in Belfast have told Press Gazette this policy means they are unable to avoid areas of the city associated with certain groups, putting them at risk of attack. The Press Gazette had a piece.

The veteran BBC journalist John Ware has launched legal action against the Labour party over his controversial Panorama investigation into allegations of antisemitism last year. It is understood that prior to the action being taken, a letter was sent to the party just before Christmas alleging it had libelled Ware in statements following broadcast of the programme last July. There was a piece in The Guardian.

IPSO

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

Last Week in the Courts

On 20 January 2020 judgment was handed down on behalf of Warby J in the case of Hamilton v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2020] EWHC 59 (QB).

The trial in the case of Feyziyev v Radu was listed before Whipple J on the same day but the matter has settled.  There was an announcement on the OCCRP website.

On 23 January 2020 there was an application in the case of Sube v News Group Newspapers before Steyn J.

Events

14 March 2020, Media Democracy Festival, Birkbeck University, Central London. Free registration tickets are now available.

30 September 2020, 5RB Conference, IET Savoy Place.  Interested readers should email conference@5RB.com

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

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

Australia

The Guardian has an article by leading commentator Richard Ackland, “Mark Speakman SC: meet the man leading the charge to update Australia’s lopsided defamation laws”.

Canada

The Lenczner Slaght website has a post about the recent decision in the case of VMY v SHG 2019 ONSC 7279, “Breach Of Privacy Or Plain Old Defamation? Ontario Court Recognizes “False Light” Privacy Tort

The Canadian Advertising & Marketing Law had a piece “Digital Marketing Enforcement Is Top Competition Bureau Enforcement Priority: New Remarks”.

Dominican Republic

The Fourth Penal Chamber of the Court of First Instance of the National District, in Santo Domingo, is scheduled to try Marino Zapete, a former broadcast reporter with local television outlet Teleradio America, on criminal defamation charges based on his reporting on alleged corruption, according to the journalist, who spoke to CPJ via phone, and news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists had an alert on the authorities to drop all criminal charges.

France

It is reported that French author Ariane Fornia has been found guilty of defamation, after Pierre Joxe, a former government minister challenged her claim of sexual assault.  She was ordered to pay a symbolic €1 damages.

India

The holders of an Instagram account defended their right to anonymity in the Delhi High Court, describing themselves as a “whistleblower” that “provides a neutral platform for carrying and sharing incidents of sexual harassment”. The administrators of the Instagram page @herdsceneand are being sued by the leading Indian artist Subodh Gupta for posting allegations of sexual harassment against him.

Gupta filed a defamation case last year against @herdsceneand, requesting for the posts to be taken down and seeking around £500,000 in damages to his reputation and career. The Art Newspaper had a piece.

Ireland

Celebrity doctor Christian Jessen has removed a controversial tweet about First Minister Arlene Foster from his social media account. The television presenter had been threatened with legal action after tweeting an unfounded rumour about the DUP leader last month.

Media lawyer Paul Tweed, who is acting for Mrs Foster, said: “I can confirm that Dr Jessen has been put on notice that we are in the process of issuing defamation proceedings in the High Court in Belfast. “He had been afforded every opportunity to take down his post and apologise but he didn’t do so until belatedly.The Belfast Telegraph had a piece.

The Irish Times had a piece “Media firms lose appeal over reporting restrictions order in sexual assault case”.

United States

The Hawaii congresswoman and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard is suing Hillary Clinton for defamation, alleging the 2016 nominee described her as a “Russian asset” and claiming more than $50m in damages. The Guardian had a piece.

Euronews had a piece on a Dutch supporter of President Donald Trump filing a defamation suit against Robert Hyde, the GOP congressional candidate who sent text messages to Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas suggesting the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was under surveillance.

Anthony de Caluwe’s suit filed Friday afternoon alleges Hyde made defamatory statements to NBC’s Connecticut station when he implied de Caluwe had pushed Hyde to send information about then-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch to Parnas.

A New York state appeals court on upheld the dismissal of a defamation suit targeting WPIX-TV and its reporter Magee Hickey over a 2014 story that misidentified a fifth-grade teacher accused of bullying her student. The New York Law Journal had a piece.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 28 to 30 January 2020 there will be a CMC in the phone hacking case of Various Claimants v MGN.  The claimants are seeking to amend to add further allegations of fraud and concealment against the Board and the Legal Department and are seeking wide ranging further disclosure.

Judgments

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

Dyson v Associated Newspapers, heard 15 January 2020 (Nicol J)

Sakho & anr v World Anti-Doping Agency., heard 15 January 2020 (Steyn J).

HH Sheikh Mohammed bint Rashid Al Maktoum v HRH Princess Haya, heard 17 December 2019 (McFarlane P)

DXB v Persons Unknown, heard 14 December 2019 (Steyn J)

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

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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