Law and Media Round Up – 4 May 2020

4 05 2020

On 1 May 2020 Warby J remotely handed down the judgement in Duchess of Sussex v Associated Newspapers [2020] EWHC 1058 (Ch), striking out three parts of the particulars of claim alleging that the publisher had acted “dishonestly” by leaving out certain passages of the letter, that the publisher deliberately “stirred up” issues between Meghan and her father, and that it had an “agenda” of publishing intrusive or offensive stories about her.

Warby J said that those allegations should not form part of the Duchess’s case at this stage because they were “irrelevant” to her claim for misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act, but he said those parts of her case may be revived at a later stage, if they are put on a proper legal basis. The news was widely covered by the national press, including Byline Investigates, The Guardian and the BBC. Hacked off had a press release.

The Panopticon Blog as a post by Christopher Knight, “Coronavirus: A Regulatory Update” – dealing with the position of the ICO, the EDPB and directions by UK Government agencies.

The Press Gazette had a piece about a Twitter message from a Brighton resident accusing the Daily Express of faking a front-page picture showing crowds on Brighton seafront in breach of Covid-19 lockdown rules. The post (now deleted) received thousands of retweets and the agency behind the photo, South West News, has since gone public with evidence that the photo – which featured on Saturday’s Daily Express front page – was legitimate.

The Council of Europe had a video  and a piece “Secretary General: Governments must protect essential role of journalists in democracy, especially in times of crisis

As usual, all the Courts’ updates on the Coronavirus guidance can be found on the Courts and Tribunal Judiciary.

Hacked off had a blog post “The fake news continues!”.

Internet and Social Media

IP Harbour had a post “TikTok owner use Blockchain evidence in Chinese Courts to prove IP Infringement””.

A group of Facebook investors is seeking to remove Mark Zuckerberg as chairman, citing several controversies facing the tech giant, including its dominance in certain markets. The motion for Facebook to take on a new independent chairman to oversee Zuckerberg’s performance as chief executive will be voted on by shareholders at the firm’s annual general meeting next month. The Press Gazette had a piece.

IPKat had a post “Trade marks and mobile apps: the PlanetArt v Photobox saga draws to a close (in PlanetArt’s favour)”.

The Guardian had a post “YouTube deletes conspiracy theorist David Icke’s channel”.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The Panopticon Blog notes that the FTT has extended the general stay on information cases until 27 May 2020.

The Guardian had a piece “Home affairs data breach may have exposed personal details of 700,000 migrants”.

The UK Human Rights Blog had a post on Coronavirus presenting a serious threat to society, legitimising the collection of public health data under Article 9:2 (g) of GDPR regulations, which allows the processing of such data if “necessary for reasons of substantial public interest” and that some of this collection will take the form of contact tracing apps.

DLA Piper Privacy Matters had a post “EU: Europe’s toolbox for building complaint Corona tracking apps”.

Hunton Andrews Kurt had a post on the Philippines National Privacy Commission (“NPC”) issuing a statement that it is investigating several breach notifications it has received relating to the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive personal information of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients (the “Statement”).

Surveillance

Byline Times had a piece “Patrolling Hearts and Minds? A ‘Red Alert’ Surveillance Warning to the World”.

Forbes had a piece on how governments have turned to expanded forms of state surveillance to help fight the Coronavirus outbreak and that the speed at which the pandemic is moving has already led to the rapid implementation of a patchwork of surveillance measures lacking in transparency and oversight.

Open Democracy had a piece “DemocracyWatch: COVID-19 ushers in a new era of surveillance apps”.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

Ofcom has cleared Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan for his “combative” interviews with government ministers amid the coronavirus outbreak. The Press Gazette had a piece.

IPSO

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

01880-20 Gregory v Hull Live, 1 Accuracy (2019), 4 Intrusion into grief or shock (2019), 8 Hospitals (2019), Resolved- IPSO mediation

00057-20 Chambers v The Guernsey Press and Star, 1 Accuracy (2019), No breach- after investigation

08980-19 Tweddle v chroniclelive.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2019), 3 Harassment (2019), 9 Reporting of crime (2019), 2 Privacy (2019), Breach- sanction: action as offered by publication

06159-19 McGurk v oxfordmail.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2018), Breach- sanction: action as offered by publication

05999-19 McGurk v Banburyguardian.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2018), 2 Privacy (2018), 9 Reporting of crime (2018), No breach- after investigation

05998-19 McGurk v am-online, 1 Accuracy (2018), 2 Privacy (2018), 9 Reporting of crime (2018), No breach- after investigation

Last Week in the Courts

On 28 April 2020 Steyn J handed down judgment in the case Greystoke v The Financial Conduct Authority [2020] EWHC 1011 (QB).

As already mentioned, on 1 May 2020, Warby J handed down judgment in the Duchess of Sussex v Associated Newspapers [2020] EWHC 1058 (Ch).

On the same day Nicklin J handed down judgment in the case of Hanson v Associated Newspapers Ltd [2020] EWHC 1048 (QB).

Events

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

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

Australia

In the case of Defteros v Google LLC [2020] VSC 219 a Victorian lawyer who made a name for himself representing members of the Melbourne underworld was awarded $40,000 damages from Google for defamation. He argued that Google’s publication of a 2004 article about his arrest on conspiracy to murder charges – which were later dropped – defamed him. Google was notified of the defamatory article in February 2016, but did not remove it until December 2016. The Guardian had a piece.

Canada

Former B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver has been granted an appeal in a defamation lawsuit against a retired geography professor. The B.C. Court of Appeal says a lower court judge erred when he concluded the words used in an article written by Timothy Ball were not defamatory against Weaver, who is also a climate scientist. The defamation claim is based on a 2011 article entitled “Corruption of Climate Science has Created 30 Lost Years” that Ball sent to a website that the court says purported to be a news site. The article referred to Weaver in connection with a field of what is described as “corrupted” climate science, at a time before he entered provincial politics. The Golden Star had a piece.

The Globe and Mail had an article “Peter MacKay issues libel notice over The Post Millennial article on polling“.

There is a report on an order against the Sandwich shop Subway to pay the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) some $765,000 in costs in respect of a November 2019 decision that dismissed Subway’s $210-million defamation lawsuit against the CBC

Ghana

News Ghana had a piece “The Ghanaian Media: A Muzzled Watchdog?”.

India

Al Jazeera had a piece “‘Privacy minefield’: India COVID-19 app raises surveillance fears”.

Ireland

In the case of Jones v Coolmore Stud [2020] IECA 116, the Court of Appeal dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal against the High Court’s refusal of an injunction against the defendant to restrain them writing letters alleging a book was defamatory.  There was a report in the Irish Times.

The Irish Times reports on the hearing of an appeal by Aer Lingus against a €387,000 defamation award by a jury to a pilot.

Israel

The Times of Israel had an article “Netanyahu slams report implying he has AG followed as ‘libel’”.

United States

The Verge had a piece on a group of Senate Republicans planning to introduce a privacy bill that would regulate the data collected by coronavirus contact tracing apps.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 5 and 6 May 2020 there will be a trial of the data protection case of Greystoke v Financial Conduct Authority.

On 6 May 2020 the  Court of Appeal (Flaux, Popplewell and Dingemans LJJ) will hear the appeal  in the case of Wright v Ver.  This is against a judgment of Nicklin J on 31 July 2019 ([2019] EWHC 2094 (QB))(see our case comment here).

On 6 and 7 May 2020 there will be a hearing in the breach of confidence and misuse of private information case of Barclay v Barclay before Warby J.  There was a judgment on an application for an interim non-disclosure order on 24 February 2020 ([2020] EWHC 424 (QB)).

Judgments

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

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.

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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