Law and Media Round Up, Easter Holidays – 20 April 2020

20 04 2020

This is our second and last Easter Holidays Round Up.  The short Easter Term will begin on Tuesday  21 April 2020.  Cases will continue to be heard remoteley. A Message [pdf] published this week by the Lord Burnett of Maldon CJ, Sir Terence Etherton MR and Sir Andrew McFarlane P, outlines how the Circuit and District Judges sitting in Civil and Family should deal with remote working.

The Court of Appeal office has issued guidance [pdf] about urgent business priorities.

The Law Society Gazette had a piece on leading judges of England and Wales revealing that measures are being put in place to silence unruly litigants in remote hearings.

On 14 April 2020, the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary had a news on about the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane announcing the commencement of a two-week rapid consultation on the use of remote hearings in the family justice system, starting today (Tuesday 14 April 2020). The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory (NFJO) will seek to gather evidence from families with children and all professionals working in the family justice system, including judges, barristers, solicitors, Cafcass workers, court staff and social workers. The NFJO will also convene virtual meetings and events to discuss the issues over the coming two weeks and draw together findings from existing research of relevance.

The Press Gazette had a piece about Amanda Liberty, a woman who said her sexual orientation is an attraction to inanimate objects, which has been described in one academic paper as “objectum sexual”. Columnist Jane Moore wrote that Liberty had married a chandelier-style light fitting and asked whether she was “Dim & Dimmer?”. Liberty complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Sun had breached Clause 12 (discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. She claimed the December article was “pejorative to her sexual orientation” and “also raised concerns that the article referred to a chandelier-style light fitting when, in fact, she was in a relationship, not a marriage, with a chandelier” . Liberty’s complaint was dismissed by IPSO.

The Guardian reports on threats of legal action against the Labour Party arising out of the leak of a report into anti-semitism complaints.

Hacked off had a press release “Answers demanded after Government accused of ignoring local publishers”.

Internet and Social Media

The IPKat blog had a piece “DSM Directive: French Competition Authority orders Google to negotiate Remuneration with Press Publishers”.

Google has launched a global emergency relief fund for local news publishers to help them during the coronavirus (Covid-19) downturn. The Press Gazette had a piece.

The Guardian had an article “Hackers exploit coronavirus lockdown with fake Netflix and Disney+ pages”.

Forbes had a piece on misinformation and how roughly one third of social media users across the United States, as well as Argentina, Germany, South Korea, Spain and United Kingdom, reported seeing false or misleading information about coronavirus.

The BBC had a piece “Coronavirus: Facebook alters virus action after damning misinformation report”.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The ICO had a blog piece “Video conferencing: what to watch out for”.

Norton Rose Fulbright Data Protection Report had a post on the Irish Data Protection Commission (“DPC”) publishing its guidance note on cookies and similar tracking technologies (the “Guidance”).  It also published a report following a “cookie sweep” that took place between August 2019 and December 2019 of 38 data controllers (the “Report”).

Schillings Insights had a piece “PRIVACY IN THE BATTLE AGAINST COVID-19”.

Surveillance

The Guardian had a piece “The expansion of mass surveillance to stop coronavirus should worry us all”.

The Register had a piece on the Indian city of Vadodara taking a novel technological approach to coronavirus quarantine surveillance by floating a balloon equipped with cameras and a public address system.

Infosecurity Magazine had a piece on how  the new COVID-19 crisis has increased the growth of state control and influence on everyday lives and it has highlighted how governments are able to give themselves potentially chilling new powers to wield at very short notice, aided by modern technology.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

Ofcom is assessing edition of This Morning after presenter Eamonn Holmes commented on conspiracy theories linking the rollout of 5G mobile technology with the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. The Press Gazette had a piece.

IPSO

IPSO’s website had a post “User-generated comments and coronavirus”.

IPSO has published one ruling since our last Round Up:

05869-19 Begum V The Daily Mirror, 1 Accuracy (2018), 2 Privacy (2018), 6 Children (2018), Breach- sanction: publication of correction

Recent Judgments

On 8 April 2020 Warby J handed down judgment in Birmingham City Council v Afsar (No.4) [2020] EWHC 864 (QB).  The judge discharged injunctions that he had granted against Persons Unknown based on the principles derived from the decision of the Court of Appeal in Canada Goose [2020] EWCA Civ 303.

Last Week in the Courts

We are not aware of any media law hearings in the last week.

Events

30 September 2020, 5RB Conference, IET Savoy Place.

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

Australia

On 15 April 2020 the High Court handed down judgment in the case of Smethurst v Commissioner of Police [2020] HCA 14 holding that that the warrant the Australian Federal Police used to search News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst’s home in 2019 was invalid.  There was an “Explainer” on The Conversation. There were reports in the Sydney Morning Herald, on ABC news and in the Guardian. We also had an Inforrm post.  News Corp is calling for the investigation to end.

The Sydney Morning Herald had a piece “David Leyonhjelm faced having property seized to enforce defamation payment, court told”.

The Guardian has a piece, “Andrew Bolt and the ABC: did the reporting on George Pell step over a line?

Colombia

The Committee to Protect Journalists had an alert for Colombian authorities to swiftly and thoroughly investigate the death threats against journalist Eder Narváez Sierra and ensure he has adequate protection.

Croatia

Total Croatia News had a piece “Croatia’s Top Court: Politicians Can Talk Sh*t While at Work

Ireland

On 16 April 2020 the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in the case of Ryanair DAC v Zwol [2020] IECA 105, dismissing Ryanair’s appeal against a jury’s decision that the airline had not been defamed in an email to pilots about its shares and the markets.  The appeal arose out of a December 2017 High Court jury finding that three members of the Ryanair Pilot Group had not defamed the airline in the email sent to 2,289 pilots in September 2013 headed: “Pilot update: what the markets are saying about Ryanair”. The Irish Times had a piece.

The Independent reports that US self help guru Tony Robbins has sued Twitter for libel in Ireland.  Mr Robbins is also suing Buzzfeed for libel in Ireland over articles detailing alleged sexual misconduct.

Northern Ireland

The Belfast Telegraph reports that Lawyers who represented rugby player Paddy Jackson in the Belfast rape trial have issued defamation proceedings against former Ireland captain Rory Best,

United States

On 14 April 2020, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of McCafferty v Newsweek Media Group[pdf] dismissed an appeal by a 12 year old, CM, who had claimed that a Newsweek article had accused him of defending raw racism and sexual abuse.  There were pieces about the decision on the Volokh Conspiracy and on Lexology.

The producers of Hustlers are asking a New York federal judge to toss a lawsuit filed by the real-life adult entertainer who inspired Jennifer Lopez’s character in the film, arguing she can’t succeed on her claims that the film used her likeness without permission and damaged her reputation. The Hollywood Reporter had a piece.

Two Philadelphians took to Instagram to identify a man they said told one of them (who is of Asian descent) to “go back where you came from” and then allegedly coughed in her face. Now the man in question is suing both of them for defamation, calling their allegations out-and-out lies. Philadelphia Magazine had a piece.

The New York Post had a piece “Trump campaign sues NBC affiliate for ‘defamatory’ advertisement”.

Harvard Law School professor, Lawrence Lessig, withdrew a lawsuit accusing The New York Times of “clickbait defamation” concerning his views toward the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, after the newspaper made changes to the online article that prompted the case. Reuters had a piece.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

All hearings are conducted remotely until further notice.

On Wednesday 22 April 2020 Nicol J will hear an application in the case of Notting Hill Genesis v Ali.  A previous judgment in this case can be found on Lawtel at [2020] EWHC 463 (QB) [£].  The Claim Form and Particular of  Claim are also available on Lawtel.

On Thursday 23 April 2020, Steyn J will hear an application in the case of Greystoke v Financial Conduct Authority.

On the same day Nicklin J will hear an application in the case of Hanson v Associated Newspapers Ltd.  The claim is for damages for libel based on an article published by the Mail on Sunday on 28 July 2019 (still available here).  The Claim Form and Particulars of Claim are available on Lawtel [£] and on Westlaw [£].

On 24 April 2020 there will be a hearing of a strike out application by the defendant in the case of Markle v Associated Newspapers before Warby J (sitting as a judge of the Chancery Division).   The Press Gazette had a piece about this “First hearing in Meghan Markle vs Associated Newspapers to be held remotely”.

Judgments

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

Rachel Riley v Murray, heard 7 April 2020 (Nicklin J)

Peck v Williams Trade Supplies Ltd 2 April 2020 (Nicklin J)

Tinkler v Ferguson & ors, heard 31 March and 1 April 2020 (Nicklin J)

BVG v LAR, heard 30 March 2020 (Nicol J).

Aven v Orbis Business Intelligence, heard 16 to 19 March 2020 (Warby J)

Serafin v Malkiewicz, heard 17 and 18 March 2020 (UKSC)

JQL v NTP, heard 17 to 20 March 2020 (HHJ Lewis, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge).

Hijazi v Yaxley-Lennon, heard 12 March 2020 (Nicklin J)

ZXC v Bloomberg, heard 3 and 4 March 2020 (Underhill, Bean and Simon LJJ)

Sube v News Group Newspapers, heard 4 to 7 February 2020 (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.

NOTE TO READERS

The Coronavirus lockdown is an ideal time for Inforrm readers to compose all those blog posts they have been thinking about for many months but been too busy to write.  This is an ideal opportunity to keep in touch with the media law world.  We can be contacted at inforrmeditorial@gmail.com


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