On Monday 1 February 2021 there will be a statement in open court in the libel action brought by the Duke of Sussex against Associated Newspapers. The action concerns a false claim that the Duke of Sussex snubbed the Royal Marines after stepping down as a senior royal.  The action was discussed in the Press Gazette when it was issued.

Hold the Front Page has a piece by Tony Jaffa entitled Data protection and the journalism exemption in practice commenting on the First Tier Tribunal decision in True Vision Productions v ICO.  There is also a comment on the Panopticon Blog.

The Press Gazette has a piece “Taking photos from social media: What news publishers need to know”.

The Panopticon Blog had a piece “Overseas websites and the GDPR’s reach” on the decision in Soriano v Forensic News Network [2021] EWHC 56 (QB)

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

Internet and Social Media

TechCrunch reports that Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature will be launched in early spring.

Reuters has a piece “Explainer: Google, Facebook battle Australia over proposed revenue-sharing law”.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

Elizabeth Denham’s term as Information Commissioner has been extended to 31 October 2021.

The ICO has issued fines totalling £480,000 to four separate companies for making unlawful calls to numbers registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).

ZDNet reports that a hacker has leaked the date of 2.28 million users of the dating site Meet Mindful.

A database of Facebook users’ phone numbers is being sold through a Telegram bot, which claims to have the information of 533 million users.

The Mishcon de Reya website has a post on The EU/UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement: Digital Trade.

On January 27, 2021, the French Data Protection Authority (the “CNIL”) announced (in French) that it imposed a fine of €150,000 on a data controller, and a fine of €75,000 on its data processor, for failure to implement adequate security measures to protect customers’ personal data against credential stuffing attacks on the website of the data controller.  There was post on the Hunton Privacy Blog.

On January 18, 2021, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) released draft Guidelines 01/2021 on Examples regarding Data Breach Notification (the “Guidelines”). There was post on the Hunton Privacy Blog.

The Panopticon Blog had a piece “Data-sharing safeguards: no ‘micro-managing’ dealing with the decision in M v Chief Constable of Sussex Police [2021] EWCA Civ 42


The Council of Europe’s Committee of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, or Convention 108, drafted guidelines for facial recognition technologies. There is a post on the Council Europe portal.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

IPSO has responded to Hacked Off’s The Fake News Ferret report on Covid-19 fake news.  IPSO wrongly stated that Hacked Off had not made the evidence publicly available – in fact they had not actually read to the end of the report.

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

New Claims

Six new claims were issued in the Media and Communications List this week: one libel claim against a national newspaper (Ashley v Times Newspapers), one libel claim against the BBC (Bilal Kapajv BBC), two “non-media” libel cases, and two data protection cases.

Last Week in the Courts

On 25 January 2021 Saini J heard an application in the case of Qatar Airways Group Q.S.C.S v Middle East News FZ LLC & ors.

On the same day HHJ Parkes QC heard an application in the case of Onwude v Dyer & Ors.

On 26 January 2021, the trial of case of Kim v Lee was heard by Steyn J.  Judgment was reserved.

On 29 January 2021, Nicklin J handed down judgment in the case of Haviland v The Andrew Lownie Literary Agency Ltd. [2021] EWHC 143 (QB).  The judge determined the meaning of seven emails sent by the defendant ruling that five of them were defamatory at common law.

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


In the case of Stead v Fairfax Media Publications [2021] FCA 15, a former managing director of a venture capital firm has been awarded damages of Aus$280,000 by the federal court after it found she was defamed by the Australian Financial Review and columnist Joe Aston.  Mr Aston described the claimant as a “feminist cretin” and said that she “set fire to people’s money”. There was a report in the Guardian.

The Financial Review reports that NSW has warned its patience is running out with states that have not passed uniform defamation laws, and that it is ready to commence the new regime on 1 July 2021.


Lexology has a post on the decision in B.W. (Brad) Blair v. Premier Doug Ford, 2020 ONSC 7100 dismissing a claim against the Premier of Ontario under the Anti-SLAPP legislation.  There was also an article about the case in the Toronto Sun.

The CBC reports that a defamation claim has been brought against a restaurant in the wake of an incident where he says he was denied service at a takeout window for not wearing a mask despite the fact he has a medical condition.


It is reported that Opposition Member of Parliament Jermaine Figueira has filed a more than $900 million lawsuit against the Kaieteur News, Guyana Times, the Department of Public Information, the Attorney General and the Minister of Labour for what he alleges are libelous statements made against him


The Indian media conglomerate Bennett, Coleman, and Company Limited (BCCL), which owns the Times of India, has filed a civil defamation suit in the Bombay High Court, seeking 1 billion rupees (US$13.7 million) in damages from Newslaundry, a privately owned news website and media watchdog.  The Committee to Protect Journalists has urged the company to withdraw the claim.


The Irish Examiner reports that former Fianna Fáil TD Frank O’Rourke has been granted permission by the High Court to add ‘persons unknown’ to defamation proceedings he has brought over social media posts made in the run-up to last year’s general election.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that the governing body for competitive Irish dancing, An Coimisiun Le Rinci Gaelacha, is being sued by a five-time world champion Jamie Hodges who claims he was blacklisted over false claims he sent an explicit video to underage girls.


The Star reports that the High Court has issued orders barring former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko from uttering any defamatory words against PS Internal Security Karanja Kibicho in relation to land grabbing claims.


Free Malaysia Today reports that Sabah PKR chief Christina Liew has been awarded defamation damages of RM100,000 against a man over his malicious remarks against her in a video that went viral on social media.


The Punch reports that a Benue State High Court, has once again adjourned the N10bn libel suit filed by the state Governor, Samuel Ortom, against the immediate past National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, till February 26, 2021.


The Press Gazette reports on contempt proceedings in the High Court of Justiciary against blogger and former diplomat, Craig Murray, arising out of his reporting of the Alex Salmond trial.

United States

Mike Lindell, commonly known as “Mr Pillow Guy” has sued the Daily Mail in the Southern District of New York over an article romantically linking him to the actor Jane Krakowski. There was also a piece on Above the Law.

There was a Bloomberg Opinion piece “Dominion’s libel case against Giuliani will be hard to prove”.

It is reported that the Lincoln Project is planning take legal action against Rudy Giuliani after he falsely linked the organisation to the storming of the Capitol building.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 1 to 5 February 2021 Julian Knowles J will hear the trial in the case of Spicer v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis.

As already mentioned, on the same day a statement in open court will be read (by Microsoft Teams) before Nicklin J in the case of Duke of Sussex v Associated Newspapers.

On the same day, judgment will be handed down in the case of Tinkler v Ferguson, heard 16 December 2020 (McCombe, Peter Jackson and Dingemans LJJ).

On 5 February 2021 Nicklin J will hear a trial of preliminary issue in the cases of Yousaf v Associated Newspapers Ltd and Sharif v Associated Newspapers Ltd.

Reserved Judgments

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

Duchess of Sussex v Associated Newspapers, heard 19 and 20 January 2021 (Warby J).

Kim v Lee, heard 26 January 2021 (Steyn J)

Please let us know if there are other reserved judgments which we should be listing.