The trial of the preliminary issue as to meaning in the libel case brought by Rebekah Vardy against Colleen Rooney will be heard by Warby J on Thursday 19 November 2020. The Sun’s report of the forthcoming hearing is entitled “Judge bags wags: Meghan Markle’s privacy judge to head Coleen Rooney and Becky Vardy’s explosive libel trial”.
The Daily Mail has agreed to pay libel damages of £25,000 to Professor Priyamvada Gopal which it falsely accused of inciting a race war. The Mail’s apology can be found here. There was a press release [pdf] from the claimant’s solicitors, Carter-Ruck and reports in, inter alia, the Guardian and Cambridgeshire Live.
A woman who ambushed and mugged freelance court reporter Wendy Barlow after seeing her taking notes during her case at Burnley Magistrates’ Court on 10 September last year, has been jailed for three years. The Press Gazette had a piece.
Though an investigation by the equality watchdog has found no unlawful acts of pay discrimination by the BBC, the Equality and Human Rights Commission recommended improvements to rebuild trust with female employees and improve transparency. Its report said the BBC accepts its historical practices were not fit for purpose and has made significant changes since 2015. Equality and Human Rights Commission interim chair Caroline Waters said: “It is easy to see why trust between some women at the BBC and the organisation has broken down. “Many women felt their voices were not being heard and have been left feeling confused as to how decisions about their pay have been made.” The Press Gazette had a piece.
As usual, updates on the Coronavirus guidance can be found on the Courts and Tribunal Judiciary.
Internet and Social Media
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden and Health Secretary Matt Hancock held a virtual roundtable with the tech giants, who also agreed to commit to the principle that no user or company should directly profit from Covid-19 misinformation or disinformation. Facebook, Twitter and Google have pledged to speed up their response to anti-vaccine Covid-19 disinformation flagged to them by the UK government after concerns they can do “so much more” to tackle the infodemic. The Press Gazette had a piece.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party has called for emergency legislation to remove “anti vaccination” content from social media.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
DLA Piper Privacy Matters had a post “Europe: EDPB issues Recommendations on Supplementary Measures and European Essential Guarantees for surveillance measures following Schrems II”.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Ticketmaster UK Limited £1.25million for failing to keep its customers’ personal data secure. The ICO found that the company failed to put appropriate security measures in place to prevent a cyber-attack on a chat-bot installed on its online payment page. The data breach, which included names, payment card numbers, expiry dates and CVV numbers, potentially affected 9.4million of Ticketmaster’s customers across Europe including 1.5million in the UK. The ICO had a news item.
The ICO has set out how seven of the UK’s political parties need to improve the way they handle people’s personal data after assessing how they manage data protection.
The ICO audited the parties’ data protection compliance following significant concerns about transparency and the use of people’s data in political campaigning that were highlighted in its 2018 report, Democracy Disrupted?. There was a news on the ICO’s website.
There was a piece on Forbes “Revealed: How The EU Funds Global iPhone And Facebook Surveillance”.
Biometric update had a piece “Pace of EU live biometric surveillance regulation prompts Reclaim Your Face movement”.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
The Press Gazette had a piece “Mail on Sunday journalists who exposed Martin Bashir Diana fakery 24 years ago say story was ignored”.
The Society of Editors had a piece “The Times calls for tougher action on online harms”.
After four days of vote-counting, CNN was first to call the election in Biden’s favour at 11.24am Eastern US time. Within minutes every other major news organisation in the world had followed suit including: AP, PA, the BBC, Sky News and the other US TV networks.
President Trump waited two hours after the media declarations of Biden’s victory before tweeting: “Since when does the Lamestream Media call who our next president will be? We have all learned a lot in the last two weeks!” The Press Gazette had a piece.
IPSO had a press release “Press regulator publishes guidance on reporting of Muslims and Islam”.
IPSO has published a number of rulings and resolutions statements since our last Round Up:
- 12378-20 Way v Mail Online, 1 Accuracy (2019), 2 Privacy (2019), 6 Children (2019), Resolved – IPSO mediation
- 06731-20 Gilbert v the Northern Echo, 1 Accuracy (2019), 2 Privacy (2019), 4 Intrusion into grief or shock (2019), 14 Confidential sources (2019), Breach – sanction: action as offered by publication
- 09335-19 Dyson Technology Limited v Mail Online, 1 Accuracy (2019), Breach – sanction: publication of correction
- 08138-19/08755-19 Allison/North Ayrshire Council v Irvine Times, 1 Accuracy (2019) 9 Reporting of crime (2019), No breach – after investigation
The judgment of Saini J in the case of Qatar Airways Group QCSC v Middle East News FZ LLC & Ors  EWHC 2975 (QB) is now available on Bailii.
Last Week in the Courts
On 9 November 2020, Nicklin J heard an application in the case of Wan-Bissaka & anr v Bentley. The claimant, a Manchester United footballer, was granted an injunction in misuse of private information against his ex girlfriend to prevent he posting details of their relationship on social media. There was an Evening Standard news story.
On 10 November 2020, Nicol J heard the trial in the case of Soriano v Societe D’Exploitation De L’Hebdomadaire Le Point. S.A. Judgment was reserved.
On 12 November 2020 Warby J handed down judgment in the case of Ameyaw v McGoldrick  EWHC 3035 (QB).
On 13 November 2020, Richard Spearman QC heard the trial of a preliminary on meaning in the case of George v Cannell. He held that the email on which the claim was based bore a meaning that was defamatory at common law and crossed the threshold of seriousness. A case summary is available on Lawtel [£].
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
The Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith has been ordered to hand over crucial documents that will reveal whether a war crimes inquiry proposes to make adverse findings against him. Roberts-Smith, the country’s most decorated living soldier, is currently suing the Age and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers for defamation in the federal court over a series of articles he says wrongly characterised him as a war criminal. The Guardian had a piece.
It is reported that a Court has ordered two Facebook trolls to pay a total of $150,000 in damages for defamation.
Montanna Geyer, the daughter of a well known rugby league player, has won a defamation case for being falsely linked to an NRL sex tape scandal involving Tyrone May.
Austria’s Supreme Court has dismissed Facebook’s appeal in a long running speech takedown case — ruling it must remove references to defamatory comments made about a local politician worldwide for as long as the injunction lasts. Green Party politician Eva Glawischnig successfully sued the social media giant seeking removal of defamatory comments made about her by a user of its platform after Facebook had refused to take down the abusive postings. Techcrunch had a piece.
The Times of India had a piece “Defamation case: No pre-arrest bail for accused in Maharashta”
The Guardian reports that the government has ordered that all online news, social media and video streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are to be subject to state regulation. The Times of India has an opinion piece, “Media: Regulate less, not more“.
The Irish Times reports that Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has signalled her intention to pursue changes to legislation following a court ruling that bans the naming of a deceased child victim of crime.
TripAdvisor has placed a warning message on the page of a hotel in Thailand after one of its guests was accused of defamation for writing a negative review. American Wesley Barnes was facing up to two years in prison and spent two nights in a Thai jail after Sea View Resort in Koh Chang had him arrested over a negative TripAdvisor review. Insider had a piece.
Turkey has fined global social media companies, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, 10 million lira ($1.18m) each for not complying with a new social media law.
CNN Broadcasting Inc. won dismissal of defamation claims by the Trump campaign related to an article discussing the prospect for Russian election interference, after the Northern District of Georgia found the campaign didn’t adequately allege that CNN acted with malice. Bloomberg law had an article.
Al.com had a piece “Alabama settles former Jeffco superintendent’s defamation lawsuit for $100,000.”
A federal judge in New York has scheduled a telephone conference in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against President Trump, a signal the case is moving forward despite attempts by the Justice Department to intervene. ABC News had a piece.
Research and Resources
- Insult and Defamation through Information Technology: Indonesia Perspective, International Journal on Emerging Technologies 11(4): 373-378(2020), Rafika, Nur, Ichsan Gorontalo University, Dharmawati Dharmawati, Ichsan Gorontalo University, Handar Subhandi Bakhtiar, Hasanuddin University, Dirah Nurmila Siliwadi, State Islamic Institute of Palopo
- Federated Learning for Privacy -Preserving Data Access, Małgorzata Śmietanka, University College London – Department of Computer Science, Hirsh Pithadia, University College London – Department of Computer Science, Philip Treleaven, University College London
- The German Facebook Case: The Law and Economics of the Relationship between Competition and Data Protection Law, Wolfgang Kerber, University of Marburg – School of Business & Economics, Karsten K. Zolna, University of Marburg – School of Business & Economics
- Data Portability Rights: Limits, Opportunities, and the Need for Going Beyond the Portability of Personal Data, Daniel Gill, University of Marburg – School of Business & Economics, Wolfgang Kerber, University of Marburg – School of Business & Economics
- Derived Data: A Novel Privacy Concern in the Age of Advanced Biotechnology and Genome Sequencing, Alda Yuan, Derived Data: A Novel Privacy Concern in the Age of Advanced Biotechnology and Genome Sequencing , Yale L. & Pol’y Rev. Inter Alia Alda Yuan, Independent
- The Role of the EU Fundamental Right to Data Protection in an Algorithmic and Big Data World, Dara Hallinan, Ronald Leenes, Serge Gutwirth, Paul De Hert, Data Protection and Privacy, Vol. 13, Data Protection and Artificial Intelligence, Oxford : Hart Publishing, Forthcoming, Yordanka Ivanova, Vrije Universiteit Brussel; Sofia University ‘St.Kliment Ohridski’.
- Schrems I and Schrems II: Assessing the Case for the Extraterritoriality of EU Fundamental Rights, Data Protection Beyond Borders:Transatlantic Perspectives on Extraterritoriality and Sovereignty, Hart Publishing, Forthcoming, Maria Tzanou, Keele University.
- The Future of EU Data Privacy Law: Towards a More Egalitarian Data Privacy, Journal of International and Comparative Law, Forthcoming December 2020, Maria Tzanou, Keele University.
- Australia’s Consumer Data Right and the Uncertain Role of Information Privacy Law, International Data Privacy Law (2020) 10(3) 222-235, Mark Burdon, Queensland University of Technology, Tom Mackie.
- Fundamental Rights Protection in Germany: The Right to Be Forgotten Cases and the Relationship between EU and German law, (2020) 3 Europarättslig Tidskrift 441, Marios Iacovides, University of Oxford – Institute of European and Comparative Law; Swedish Competition Authority, Max Greib.
Next Week in the Courts
On 16 November 2020 Nicklin J will hand down judgment in the case of Hijazi v Yaxley-Lennon.
On 17 November 2020 Saini J will hear an application in the case of B.C.Strategy UK Ltd v Keshet Broadcasting Ltd & ors.
On 18 November 2020, Warby J will hand down judgment in the case of HRH The Duchess of Sussex v Associated Newspapers Ltd.
As already mentioned, on 19 November 2020, there will be a trial of a preliminary issue on meaning in the case of Vardy v Rooney before Warby J.
The following reserved judgments after public hearing in media law cases are outstanding:
Nwakamma v Umeyor, heard 13 to 16 July 2020 (HHJ Lewis)
Onwude v Dyer, heard 6-8 October 2020 (HHJ Parkes QC)
Wright v Granath, heard 15 October 2020 (Moylan, Singh and Popplewell LJJ)
Sicri v Associated Newspapers, heard 2, 3 and 6 November 2020 (Warby J).
Soriano v Societe D’Exploitation De L’Hebdomadaire Le Point. S.A, heard 10 November 2020 (Nicol J)
Please let us know if there are other reserved judgments which we should be listing.
This Round Up was compiled by Nataly Tedone who is a media and entertainment paralegal.