The highest profile media law case of the week was the strike out application in the case of Markle v Associated Newspapers heard remotely on Friday 24 April 2020 by Warby J.

Detailed  information about the hearing can be found on the Byline Investigates website.  Judgment was reserved. There were reports in the Guardian, the Press Gazette and on the BBC website.

All the Courts’ updates on the Coronavirus guidance can be found on the Courts and Tribunal Judiciary.

Hacked off had a blog post “Covid-19 Media Scrutiny and Government Accountability”.

Internet and Social Media

The Guardian had a piece on now coronavirus crisis has sparked a “perfect storm” of global online disinformation, cyber-espionage and disruption.

Senior executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter are scheduled to appear before UK MPs to answer questions about the spread of coronavirus disinformation.

Twitter has said there is no evidence of bot networks being used to manipulate the conversation around the coronavirus pandemic in the UK, contradicting widely-circulated claims that the government was using anonymous online accounts to boost its standing. The Guardian had a piece.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The Panopticon blog had a post “Coronavirus: A Regulatory Update”.

LSE Media Policy Project had a post on whether encouraging widespread use of a contract-tracing app is a proportionate response to the current health crisis.

Mishcon de Reya Data Matters had a piece “Managing remote access cyber security during covid-19


Schillings Insight had a piece “Smart Speakers are too smart to be used for conference calls”.

A report from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change argues that a dramatic increase in technological surveillance is a “price worth paying” to fight Covid-19. Privacy activists have warned, however, that such extensions of surveillance could be a dangerous precedent that would be hard to roll back once the crisis is over.  The TBI argues in the report published on Friday that those fears are valid, but understate the degree of trade-off that many countries face. The Guardian had a piece.

The Register had a piece “Why should the UK pensions watchdog be able to spy on your internet activities? Same reason as the Environment Agency and many more”.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The Press Gazette had a piece “Duke and Duchess of Sussex tell tabloid editors there will be “no corroboration and zero engagement””.

Ofcom has sanctioned London Live, after an interview with conspiracy theorist David Icke that “risked causing significant harm to viewers”. Ofcom declared “While we acknowledge that David Icke has a right to hold and express these views, they risked causing significant harm to viewers who may have been particularly vulnerable at the time of broadcast.” The Press Gazette had an article.


IPSO had a blog post “Social media and journalism during COVID-19”.

IPSO has not published any rulings and resolutions statements since our last Round Up.

Last Week in the Courts

On 21 April 2020 Nicol J handed down judgment in the case of BVG v LAR [2020] EWHC 931 (QB)  (heard 30 March 2020).  We will publish a case comment later this week.

On the same day Nicklin J handed down judgment in the case of Hijazi v Yaxley-Lennon [2020] EWHC 934 (QB).  The judge held that online comments made by the far right activist Tommy Robinson about a Syrian teenager amounted to accusations that the young refugee had “participated in a violent assault on a young girl” and “threatened to stab another child”, a judge has ruled.  There was a report in the Guardian.

On Wednesday 22 April 2020 Nicol J heard an application in the case of Notting Hill Genesis v Ali.  Judgment was reserved.

On Thursday 23 April 2020, Steyn J heard an application in the case of Greystoke v Financial Conduct Authority.  Judgment was reserved.

On the same day Nicklin J handed down judgment in the case of Peck Williams Trade Supplies Ltd & Ors [2020] EWHC 966 (QB) dealing with preliminary issues as to meaning and fact/opinion.

On the same day Nicklin J heard an application in the case of Hanson v Associated Newspapers Ltd.  Judgment was reserved.

As already mentioned, on Friday 24 April 2020, Warby J heard an application in the case of Markle v Associated Newspapers.  Judgment was reserved.

On the same day Nicklin J handed down the judgment in Riley v Murray [2020] EWHC 997 (QB).  Rachel Riley, the presenter of Countdown, has won the first round in a High Court libel claim over a tweet sent by a former senior aide to Jeremy Corbyn. Riley is suing Laura Murray over a tweet posted a short time after the former Labour leader was hit by eggs thrown by a Brexit supporter during a visit to Finsbury Park mosque on 3 March 2019.  Nicklin J ruled that the meaning of Murray’s tweet was that Riley “had publicly stated in a tweet that he [Mr Corbyn] deserved to be violently attacked”.  He also ruled that the part of Murray’s tweet which said Riley was “as dangerous as she is stupid” was an expression of opinion, which meant that Riley had “shown herself to be a dangerous and stupid person who risked inciting unlawful violence”.  The Guardian had a piece.


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

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would in late July release draft rules for the tech giants to pay fair compensation for the journalistic content siphoned from news media. The Press Gazette had a piece.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Australian Financial News has settled a defamation claim An Australian-based Chinese news outlet has settled a defamation case brought Guy Hedley, a former head of Macquarie Private Bank by paying $350,000 and apologising for a now-withdrawn article it says contained false claims.  The case had been tried last month but the settlement took place before Justice Michael Lee had handed down judgment.

The Guardian had a piece “Privacy concerns persist over Australia’s coronavirus tracing app”.


A former Crown lawyer is proceeding with a defamation suit against Nova Scotia’s premier and a former justice minister, alleging they “acted maliciously” in causing harm to his reputation.In the notice of action, Cameron says he was “publicly abused and humiliated” by comments made by Premier Stephen McNeil and Diana Whalen. Global News had a piece.


The Hindu had an article “Defamation case: Supreme Court grants relief to journalist Arnab Goswami”.


Judges met via a video link to consider an appeal by pro-independence blogger Stuart Campbell in his legal dispute with former MSP Kezia Dugdale. In the hearing, independence blogger Stuart Campbell is appealing against a sheriff’s ruling in a defamation case he brought against the former Scottish Labour leader. Mr Campbell, who blogs as “Wings Over Scotland”, claimed he had been defamed by Ms Dugdale in a newspaper column in which she said he had sent “homophobic tweets”. The BBC had a piece.


The Straits Times reports that Dr Julian Ong, the surgeon who lost his defamation suit against a woman who had accused him of taking advantage of vulnerable patients, will not be allowed to practise at any of the Parkway hospitals

Trinidad and Tobago

The Sunday Express reports that Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal has initiated legal ­proceedings against blogger Rhoda Bharath for alleged “defamatory statements” made on Facebook.

United States

The mother of a popular YouTube personality sued a woman for defamation Tuesday, alleging she defamed the plaintiff on Instagram and published private information, including her address. NBC Southern California had a piece.

Lawyers for Hearst Magazines and journalist Ryan Lizza on Friday urged an Iowa federal judge to dismiss defamation claims filed against them by California Congressman Devin Nunes and his family over an article about their family farm. Courthouse News had a piece.

The Washington Post had a piece “Sean Hannity says the New York Times libeled him. Is that possible?

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

We are not presently aware of any media law hearings next week.


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

Markle v Associated Newspapers,  heard 24 April 2020 (Warby J)

Hanson v Associated Newspapers, heard 23 April 2020 (Nicklin J)

Greystoke  v Financial Conduct Authority, heard 23 April 2020 (Steyn J)

Notting Hill Genesis v Ali., heard 22 April 2020 (Nicol J)

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

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.


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