Law and Media Round Up – 18 May 2020

18 05 2020

On 10 May 2020 the Prime Minister announced a plan for a gradual ease of the lock down and a new phase which will see more businesses reopening and people gradually returning to work.

The Courts however, are still working remotely, and updates on the Coronavirus guidance can be found on the Courts and Tribunal Judiciary  The Law Society Gazette had a piece “LCJ: ‘No going back’ to pre-Covid ways”.

A House of Lords committee looking into the future of journalism has turned down an offer from Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas to testify on the experience he has faced at the hands of the tabloid press when last year a journalist revealed his HIV positive status to his parents before he told them himself, forcing him to go public about his diagnosis when he would have preferred to keep it quiet. Thomas made a submission to the House of Lords Committee on Communications and Digital’s inquiry into the future of journalism, making his comments about the industry alongside representatives from publishing companies, academics and journalists. The Press Gazette had a piece.  Hacked Off had a news post “Gareth Thomas’ story must be told”.

A millionaire businessman is launching legal action against the government after it refused to disclose minutes of the Sage meetings that informed its decision to impose the coronavirus lockdown. Simon Dolan said he received an unsatisfactory response to his challenge over the legality of the lockdown in a “letter before action” sent two weeks ago and his lawyers intend to go to the high court to seek permission for an urgent judicial review of the background to the lockdown imposed on 23 March.  The Guardian had a piece.

The Press Gazette had a piece “Tabloids win High Court harassment battle with family who sought publicity for bigger council house”.

Internet and Social Media

On 13 May 2020 a formal GDPR complaint [pdf] was filed against Google by noyb.eu for tracking users through “Android Advertising ID” without a valid legal basis.

Facebook has agreed to pay a settlement of $52m in a court case alleging the company failed to protect workers tasked with moderating disturbing content from the grave mental health impacts of the job. As part of the settlement, which was announced Tuesday, moderators will get a minimum of $1,000 each from Facebook with the potential for additional compensation if they have been diagnosed with mental health disorders, including PTSD. The Guardian had a piece.

The BBC had an article “Facebook to build internet cable ‘circumference of Earth‘”.

The French parliament has passed a controversial hate speech law that would fine social media companies if they fail to remove certain illegal content within 24 hours and in some cases, as little as one hour. The one-hour deadline applies to content that French authorities consider to be related to terrorism or child sexual abuse. The BBC had a piece.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The UK Human Rights Blog had a post “Contact tracing – breach of data protection?”.

Schillings Insights had a piece “Privacy and video: are you revealing too much?”.

The Panopticon blog had a post on the CJEU announcing that judgment will be handed down in Case C-311/18, Data Protection Commissioner v Facebook Ireland & Schrems on 16 July 2020. The judgment directly concerns the legality of standard contractual clauses in the context of transfers of personal data to the USA.

Econsultancy had a post “European Data Protection Board: cookie walls, scrolling aren’t sufficient for GDPR consent”.

Mishcon de Reya Data Matters had a post “ICO appears to announce yet further delays to BA and Marriott investigations”.

Surveillance

Reuters had an article about the  EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders saying that COVID-19 contact-tracing apps must only be used during the pandemic and will need to be automatically de-activated once the crisis is over, in a bid to allay concerns over state surveillance.

The BBC had a piece “Coronavirus: Israel turns surveillance tools on itself”.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The Press Gazette had a piece “Number 10 changes story after saying journalists would be excluded from daily Covid-19 briefing”.

A regional newspaper has been reprimanded by IPSO after publishing a picture of a convicted paedophile with two children unrelated to his crimes. There was an article on the Press Gazette.

IPSO

There was a post of the IPSO’s blog “IPSO Blog: Reporting on terrorism and IPSO advice on major incidents”.

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

01221-20 Morgan v Monmouthshire Beacon, 1 Accuracy (2019), Resolved- IPSO mediation

00067-20 Pearson v Daily Express, 1 Accuracy (2019). No breach- after investigation

08643-19 Singh v thescottishsun.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2019), Resolved- IPSO mediation

07964-19 Desbrow v The Herald,1 Accuracy (2019), No beach- after investigation

Recent Judgments

Three interim judgments of Warby J from 6 and 7 May 2020 in the case of Barclay v Barclay have been made available on Bailii: [2020] EWHC 1154 (QB); [2020] EWHC 1179 (QB); [2020] EWHC 1179 (QB).

On 6 May 2020 Master Dagnall handed down judgment in the breach of confidence case of Media Entertainment NV v Karyagdyyev & Anor [2020] EWHC 1138 (QB).

Last Week in the Courts

On 13 May 2020, Nicol J heard an application in the case of Depp v News Group Newspapers.  Judgment was reserved.

On the same day Nicol J handed down judgment in the case of Notting Hill Genesis v Ali., heard 22 April 2020 ([2020] EWHC 1194 (QB)).

On 15 May 2020 the Court of Appeal remotely handed down the judgement ZXC v Bloomberg [2020] EWCA Civ 611, dismissing Bloomberg’s appeal and upholding the decision of Nicklin J that an article about a fraud, bribery and corruption investigation into the Claimant at a time when he had not been charged with any offence amounted to a misuse of his private information. The decision is likely to have significant ramifications for the media reporting of criminal investigations before the suspect has been charged. 5RB had a post.  The Press Gazette reported “Sir Cliff Richard ‘chilling effect’ hits Bloomberg as judges reject appeal over criminal probe report”.  We will shortly post a case comment on this decision.

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

Australia

Perth man Patrick Finnegan said he was unfairly made out to be a fraudster and an opportunist on the message board Slack for about 300 electric vehicle industry figures and EV motoring enthusiasts. The operator of E-Station, a supplier of EV charging equipment, is seeking $350,000 in general damages as well as aggravated and special damages, his claim filed in the federal court states. The Guardian had a piece.

The lawyer for Ben Roberts-Smith says his client is desperate to clear his name in an open court in his long awaited defamation trial against three former Fairfax newspapers continues to be hampered by national security concerns raised by the attorney general. Bruce McClintock QC, told the federal court that it was “fundamental to his vindication” that Roberts-Smith be able to testify in open court after lawyers for the commonwealth produced documents which could have implications for the evidence presented in the trial. The Guardian had a piece.

Belarus

The Committee to Protect Journalists had an alert “ Belarus jails 5 journalists over coverage of opposition candidate”.

Canada

CBC had an article “Manitoba health minister sued for defamation after criticizing lease agreement with facility for at-risk kids”.

India

Times of India had an article “Defamation case filed against BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra”.

United States

Donald Trump’s lawyers have been arguing before New York’s highest court that the president is immune from a defamation lawsuit brought by former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos.

Zervos has alleged Trump groped and kissed her without her consent in a Los Angeles hotel room in 2007. The suit alleges Trump made defamatory statements about her while on the campaign trail, and that he repeatedly accused her and other women who made similar allegations of lying. ABC News had an article.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On Monday 18 May 2020, Nicol J will hand down judgment in the case of Depp v News Group Newspapers.

On the same day Warby J will hear a preliminary issue meaning trial in the case of Swan v Associated Newspapers and Jay J will hear a PTR in the slander case of Hodges v Naish (transferred from the Bristol District Registry).

On 19 May 2020, Soole J will hear an appeal from Deputy Master Sullivan in the case of France v Khan.

On 20 May 2020, Elisabeth Laing J will hear a preliminary issue trial in the case of Warnes v Forge.

On 20 and 21 May 2020 Mann J will hear a CMC in MTVIL, Various Claimants v News Group Newspapers.  He will consider the claimants’ application for permission to amend and an application for disclosure.  Directions will be given for a trial in October 2020. There is also an application by a group of journalists for an order making court papers available.

On 22 May 2020, Soole J will hear an application in the harassment claim of JKL v VBN.

On the same day Jay J will deal with a paper application for relief from sanctions in the case of Piepenbrock v Associated Newspapers.

Judgments

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

Riley and Oberman v Heybroek, heard 28 April and 7 May 2020 (Jay J)

Wright v Ver, heard 6 May 2020 (Flaux, Popplewell and Dingemans LJJ)

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).

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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