On 27 January 2020 the Government published its response to the Cairncross Review on its website. Dame Frances Cairncross led an independent review into the sustainability of high-quality journalism in the UK which was published in February last year.

Cairncross had suggested the government should found a new Institute for Public Interest News to coordinate between publishers, broadcasters, and online platforms to ensure a future for quality reporting. In its response, the government said it would not be taking forward the idea.  There was an Inforrm post about this.  The Government’s response was widely covered by the national press, including The Guardian, the Press Gazette and City A.M.

The Mirror Group phone hacking CMC this week attracted some media attention.  The Guardian reported that “Sunday People ‘hired detectives to target Milly Dowler phone” whereas Bloomberg went for the Royal angle with a piece entitled “Prince Harry Seeks Investigator Receipts in Phone Hacking Case“.  the Byline Times had an article “Distorting Mirror: Court Exposes Corporate Phone Hacking Cover up”. Byline Investigates had two pirces, “Milly Dowler ‘hacking’ – now MIRROR GROUP is accused over murdered schoolgirl in court docs”  and “Top Mirror Lawyer Marcus Partington ‘hid existence of itemised phone billing records’ illegally obtained by the same private investigators as targeted Milly Dowler, Court hears“.

The Transparency Project blog has published the latest version of its ever popular “Family Court Reporting Watch Round Up“.

ASA had news piece on the effect of Brexit on the CAP and BCAP Codes.

Internet and Social Media

Brittany Kaiser, previously business development director at Cambridge Analytica, visited Parliament to talk to MPs about how Britons’ data continues to be exploited. The Press Gazette had a piece.

Controversial commentator Katie Hopkins has had her Twitter account suspended for violating its anti-hate policy. The social media giant said Hopkins had been temporarily locked out of her account. There was a piece on the BBC.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The 28 January 2020 marked the 14th edition of “Data Protection Day”, the  anniversary of the opening for signature of Convention 108, the global data protection Convention. Council of Europe had a piece, and the ICO’s website also had a statement from Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham.

The ICO’s website had a statement “Statement on data protection and Brexit implementation – what you need to do”.

Facebook has settled a lawsuit over facial recognition technology, agreeing to pay $550m (£419m) over accusations it had broken an Illinois state law regulating the use of biometric details in one of the largest consumer privacy settlements in U.S. history. The Guardian had a piece.

Mishcon de Reya Data Matters had a post “Children’s data protection rights: a data protection casualty?


IThe Law Society Gazette had a piece “Judge unhappy with late surveillance evidence – but allows it anyway”.  The judgment can be found here.

On 28 January 2020 the BBC had a piece on the UK’s decision to let Huawei continue to be used in its 5G networks but with restrictions, despite pressure from the US to block the firm. The Chinese firm will be banned from supplying kit to “sensitive parts” of the network, it will only be allowed to account for 35% of the kit in a network’s periphery and it will be excluded from areas near military bases and nuclear sites. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had previously suggested that use of Huawei’s equipment posed a spying risk, saying that “we won’t be able to share information” with nations that put it into their “critical information systems”.

On the 30 January 2020, the BBC reported that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that his country will assist the UK in reducing risks associated with involving Huawei in its 5G network and his officials would work together to “get this right” after the UK’s decision to give the Chinese firm a limited role in building its system.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The Press Gazette had a piece “ITV News anchor Alastair Stewart steps down over social media “misjudgement’.

Rob Davies, a Guardian journalist was denied a press pass for a major gambling industry exhibition. His application was turned down with a message saying his details did not meet the press criteria. When he rang the PR company running the accreditations he was told press passes were “only for B2B media”. The Press Gazette got in touch with the organisers for a comment on the ban and Davies received an email saying his application had been approved. The company claimed it was their media policy not to have national newspapers cover the event, but Davies, who is writing a book about the gambling industry, said he knew of at least one national journalist who had been granted a press pass. There was a piece on the Press Gazette.


The IPSO blog had a post “IPSO Blog: Government response to the Cairncross Review”.

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

There were a number of pieces written about Prince Harry’s unsuccessful complaint, including in the Press Gazette and the Guardian.

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

On 31 January 2020 there was a statement in open court [pdf] in the case of Iqbal v Associated Newspapers before Soole J.  There was a news item on the 5RB website.

Last Week in the Courts

On 28 January 2020, Steyn J handed down the judgement in DXB v Persons Unknown [2020] EWHC 134 (QB), a claim brought pursuant to “the Venables jurisdiction” for an extension of the anonymity of a child defendant beyond his 18th birthday. The extension was sought for a period of 22 months rather than life-long anonymity.  Steyn J acknowledged the conflict between articles 8 ECHR ( right to “private and family life, his home and his correspondence”) and 10 ECHR (right to freedom of expression and information) and the need for a balance, but rejected the claimant’s submissions. Having considered the circumstances of the case, Steyn J concluded that “ the s.45 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 order has ensured that the claimant did not have to cope with the glare of publicity during the course of a stressful criminal trial, while he was not yet an adult. Parliament has determined that such an order should expire when the young person reaches the age of 18. For the reasons I have given, the circumstances of this case do not justify granting an extended period of anonymity pursuant to the Venables jurisdiction.

As already mentioned, on 28 to 31 January 2020 Mann J heard the 17th CMC in the case of Various Claimants v MGN.  He considered MGN’s application to strike out various amendments making allegations against MGN’s legal department and various applications by the claimants against MGN.  Judgment was reserved.


3 March 2020, 17.30-19.00  Bringing Claims for mass data-breaches, BIICL, at Mischon de Reya

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


 Former Olympian Nova Peris is suing conservative Indigenous politician Jacinta Price for defamation over comments she made on Studio 10 accusing the ex-Labor senator of protecting abusers amid the fallout of host Kerri-Anne Kennerley being accused of racism. There was a piece on The Sydney Morning Herald.

The Sydney Morning herald had a piece “Former Labor MP sues Liberal MP Dave Sharma for defamation over tweet”.


Mondaq had an article “Canada: Ontario Recognizes New Privacy Tort”.


The Committee to Protect Journalists had an alert on Greek authorities who should overturn the conviction of journalist Kostas Vaxevanis on appeal and reform the country’s outdated criminal defamation laws.

A court in Athens found Vaxevanis, editor of the local newspaper Documento, guilty of criminal insult for tweeting an image mocking former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. The court sentenced him to a suspended sentence of five months’ imprisonment; if he is found to commit a similar offense over the next three years, that sentence will be enforced, according to the Documento report.


The State government has filed two defamation complaints against Leader of Opposition and DMK president M.K.Stalin in connection with statements against Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami  and the government. The Hindu had an article.

New Zealand

Speaker Trevor Mallard is being sued following his claim last year that a rapist was working at Parliament. A Parliamentary worker who stood down last May after Mallard’s comments is alleging the Speaker defamed him. The New Zealand Herald had a piece.

South Africa

IP Kat had a post “Does South Africa want public interest considerations for copyright limitations and exceptions at the WTO?”.

United States

Jeff Bezos was sued for defamation by his girlfriend’s brother in a lawsuit accusing the Amazon.com Inc. chief executive officer of falsely claiming the brother provided lurid photographs to the National Enquirer. Bloomberg had a piece.

Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser whose ties to Russia were at the heart of the investigation into the interference in the 2016 US election is suing the Democratic National Committee and a prominent law firm that had dug up some of the allegations against him. The CNN had an article.

The New York advice columnist, E. Jean Carroll, who claims President Donald Trump raped her two decades ago is demanding a sample of his DNA as part of her defamation lawsuit accusing him of lying about the alleged encounter. Bloomberg had a piece.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 5 February 2020 there will be a trial in the case of Sube & anr v News Group Newspapers Ltd & anr, listed for 3 days.


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

Various Claimants v MGN, heard, 28 to 31 January 2020 (Mann J)

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

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