On 8 June 2020, Nicklin J handed down judgment in the Defendants’ favour in Tinkler v Ferguson  EWHC 1467 (QB), striking out a malicious falsehood action brought by the former executive director.
The proceedings arose from a dispute over the chairmanship of Stobart Group Limited and an announcement published on the London Stock Exchange’s Regulatory News Service concerning the Claimant’s actions. The Claimant issued proceedings in libel and malicious falsehood. The libel claim was ultimately abandoned and the Defendants sought an order staying or striking out the remaining action on several bases, including that it would involve re-litigating separate, concluded proceedings. They succeeded on their primary ground, although the Judge also held that the claim should be struck out on the basis that in failing to allege special damage, or advance a reasonably arguable or properly particularised case under s.3(1), Defamation Act 1952, it disclosed no reasonable grounds for being brought.
As usual, updates on the Coronavirus guidance can be found on the Courts and Tribunal Judiciary.
The Conversation had a piece “Coronavirus: fake news less of a problem than confusing government messages – new study”.
Ofcom has decided not to fine London Live after it broadcast a “potentially harmful” interview with conspiracy theorist David Icke, citing the importance of freedom of expression. The Press Gazette had a piece.
The Sun has defended its decision to track down JK Rowling’s ex-husband whom she accused of domestic abuse for the first time in a blog post. Jorge Arantes told the newspaper: “I slapped Joanne — but there was not sustained abuse. I’m not sorry for slapping her”. The Sun describes his words as a “sick taunt”, but journalists and domestic abuse charities joined together to condemn the portrayal of Arantes’ words on the front page of the newspaper. The Press Gazette had a piece.
Hacked off had a press release “David Challen responds to Sun & Mail coverage of domestic abuser” and The Guardian had a piece “JK Rowling: UK domestic abuse adviser writes to Sun editor”.
Byline Investigates had a piece “EXCLUSIVE: The Sun Secretly Taped Ashley Cole Whilst He Was Having a Breakdown – inside a clinic”.
Internet and Social Media
Medical professionals from the UK, US and Portugal have submitted evidence to British MPs in which they blame online falsehoods for harming sufferers of coronavirus. More than 2,000 health professionals and supporters have also now signed an Avaaz campaign letter asking social media firms to “correct the record on health misinformation” by “alerting and notifying every single person who has seen or interacted with health misinformation on their platforms, and sharing well-designed and independently fact-checked correction”. There was a piece on the Press Gazette.
The Guardian had a piece “Facebook incorrectly removes picture of Aboriginal men in chains because of ‘nudity’”.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
The ICO’s website has a post “Data protection and coronavirus information hub”.
Global Banking & Finance Review had a piece “Harnessing blockchain to revamp the data privacy landscape”.
The Conversation had a piece “High-tech surveillance amplifies police bias and overreach”.
New York politicians are expected to vote to force the city’s police force to divulge the surveillance technology it uses, one of many reforms of law enforcement being considered across the United States. City council members will vote on a bill that would force the New York Police Department to give details about its surveillance tools. The Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act already has enough co-sponsors to win the two-thirds support needed to override an expected mayoral veto. There was a piece on Reuters.
Forbes had a piece “Mass Surveillance During The Pandemic: Today’s Fix, Tomorrow’s Trouble”.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
LSE Media Policy Blog had a post “The role of media and communication as anti-racist protesters take to the streets”.
There was a news on the IPSO’s website in relation to how the effective use of statistics is becoming increasingly important as press coverage of the Coronavirus pandemic continues.
It is crucial that journalists and editors understand the significance and impact of data to present information in a relevant way for newsreaders.
The press Gazette had a piece “IPSO: Telegraph OK to use one tweet from science editor to back claim BBC wants UK to adopt plant-based diet”.
IPSO has published a number of rulings and resolutions statements since our last Round Up:
Last Week in the Courts
On 12 June 2020 Elisabeth Laing J handed down judgment in the case of Warnes v Forge  EWHC 1496 (QB) (heard 20 May 2020). She found that the words complained of bore a defamatory meaning and were allegations of fact, not opinion.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
Mondaq had a piece “Owners of Facebook pages can be liable for defamatory posts by others”.
In the case of Candelora v Feser 2020 NSCC 177 Joshua M Arnold J awarded damages under the Intimate Images and Cyber-protection Act SNS 2017 following a finding that the respondents had engaged in cyber bullying of the applicant. General damages of $50,000, aggravated damages of $20,000 and punitive damages of $15,000 were awarded.
Law Times had a piece “Ontario court weighs in on universal jurisdiction for internet defamation claims”. A former Dawson City couple who sued two women for defamation and was awarded more than $800,000 in damages only to have the decision overturned has taken their case to the country’s highest court. In their application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, the Senfts argued that there were several issues of national importance to their case, including whether general and special verdicts should be held to different standards when being appealed, whether certain pieces of evidence should or shouldn’t be reviewed by appeal judges and whether an unsuccessful party should be allowed to raise an issue on appeal that it didn’t raise during the original trial. Yukon News had a piece.
A West African traditional monarch claims he has been defamed in a series of social media posts by an Irish-based blogger, the High Court has heard. Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi claims he has been defamed by Esther Esabod Aboderin in video clips and other posts that have appeared on Facebook and YouTube. He claims he has been wrongly and maliciously accused in the posts of committing serious criminal offences by the defendant, including being involved in land grabs, silencing journalists critical of him, human trafficking, racketeering, money laundering, and having people killed. None of the accusations are true, he states. There was a piece in the Irish Times.
Council of Europe had a news “Government Signals Reversal of Commitments to End Jail Penalties for Journalists in Defamation Law”.
Craig Wright’s appeal against Norway’s jurisdiction for his case has been dismissed by the Norwegian Court of Appeals. The defamation suit against Twitter Bitcoin analyst Hodlonaut was filed by Mr Wright after the former called him a “fraud.” Coinjournal had a piece.
A federal appeals court agrees that producers of Wolf of Wall Street didn’t recklessly make false statements about Andrew Greene, a former executive at the real-life brokerage firm at the centre of the 2013 Martin Scorsese film, Stratton Oakmont. As a result, Greene won’t be able to revive his libel suit. The suit raised a “libel in fiction” claim, where a plaintiff can prevail only if he shows that a reasonable person understood whatever was fictionalized to be thinly veiled false statements about him. Here, Greene asserted that viewers would view him as a criminal who used drugs and partied with prostitutes. The Hollywood Reporter had a piece.
Research and Resources
- Twitter, Parody, and the First Amendment: A Contextual Approach to Twitter Parody Defamation, Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Review, Forthcoming, Emma Lux, Georgetown University, Law Center.
- Inside the Organization: Why Privacy and Security Engineering is a Challenge for Engineers, Proceedings of IEEE, 2018, Sarah Spiekermann, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Jana Korunovska, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Marc Langheinrich.
- Privacy as Civil Right, New Mexico Law Review, Vol. 50, No. 3, 2020, Alvaro Bedoya, Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law.
- National Security, Surveillance and Human Rights, R. Geiss, N. Melzer (Eds), Oxford Handbook on the International Law of Global Security, Oxford University Press, 2020 (forthcoming), Theodore Christakis, University Grenoble-Alpes, CESICE, France; Institut Universitaire de France, Katia Bouslimani, University of Grenoble – CESICE Centre for International Security & European Studies.
- Data Protection in Disarray, Washington Law Review, Forthcoming, Thomas Haley, University of Utah – S.J. Quinney College of Law.
- A Vision for Global Privacy Bridges: Technical and Legal Measures for International Data Markets, Computer Law and Security Review, 2015, Sarah Spiekermann, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Alexander Novotny, WU Vienna.
- Data-Driven Predatory Entry withProvacy- Policy Tying, Daniele Condorelli, University of Warwick – Department of Economics, Jorge Padilla, Compass Lexecon.
- Privacy in E-Commerce: Stated Preferences vs. Actual Behavior*, Communications of the ACM, April, 2005, Bettina Berendt, Humboldt University of Berlin – Institute of Information Systems, Oliver Günther, Universität Potsdam, Sarah Spiekermann, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
- Protecting One’s Privacy – Insights into the Views and Nature of the Early Adopters of Privacy Services, International Journal of Technology and Human Interaction, 2004, Sarah Spiekermann, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
- Principles of Data Privacy in California: Study of Industry Reactions and Comments to the Proposed CCPA Regulations and User-Centric Perspectives, Paulius Jurcys, Prifina; Independent, Markus Lampinen.
- Trading Privacy for the Greater Social Good: How Did America React During COVID-19?, Anindya Ghose, New York University (NYU) – Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Beibei Li, Carnegie Mellon University – H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Meghanath Macha, Carnegie Mellon University – H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Chenshuo Sun, New York University (NYU) – Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Natasha Zhang Foutz, Smith School.
- ‘Dad! Cut that Part Out!’ Children’s Rights to Privacy in the Age of ‘Generation Tagged’: Sharenting, Digital Kidnapping and the Child Micro-Celebrity’, Emma Nottingham, ‘Dad! Cut that Part Out!’ Children’s Rights to Privacy in the Age of ‘Generation Tagged’: Sharenting, Digital Kidnapping and the Child Micro-Celebrity’ in Jane Murray, Beth Blue Swadener, Kylie Smith (ed) The Routledge International Handbook of Young Children’s Rights, 2019, Emma Nottingham, University of Winchester
Next Week in the Courts
We are not aware of any media law cases listed for this week.
The following reserved judgment after a public hearing in a media law case is outstanding:
Aven v Orbis Business Intelligence, heard 16 to 19 March 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 firstname.lastname@example.org