On 10 March, ITV released a statement: “Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain. ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add.” The announcement came after broadcast regulator Ofcom launched an investigation into comments made by Morgan about the Duchess of Sussex discussing her mental health and suicidal thoughts in her interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Ofcom received around 41,000 complaints. Morgan insisted his exit was an “amicable” and that he and ITV had “agreed to disagree”. The Press Gazette and the Guardian had a piece. Inforrm had a piece by Paul Wragg, Saint Piers, Free Speech Martyr.
The Press Gazette reports that, despite the “Cliff Richard” case, the majority of the UK press has has identified the police officer arrested on suspicion of murdering London woman Sarah Everard. It is noted that broadcasters have not named the suspect. There was a piece on The Conversation, “Sarah Everard: social media and the very real danger of contempt of court“.
The Daily Mail reports that the loser of the Vardy v Rooney libel action could face a legal bill of £1.6 million if the case goes to trial. This is based on the parties’ draft costs budges for the CCMC although these are highly likely to be reduced by the Master in the usual way.
In Ranger v Pycraft Mrs Justice Collins Rice declined an application for an injunction against Charles Pycraft after he breached an undertaking about his behaviour. But she stressed that if Pycraft gave any further cause for concern, any judge considering this option in the future would have an ‘additional perspective’. The Law Society Gazette had a piece.
The Press Gazette had a piece “Ofcom says no further action required over Emily Maitlis Cummings monologue”.
As usual, updates on the Coronavirus guidance can be found on the Courts and Tribunal Judiciary.
Internet and Social Media
The Guardian had a piece “Netflix weighs up crackdown on password sharing”.
The Financial Time published an article “Google slams Microsoft for backing pay-for-news bill”.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
The ICO’s blog had a post “Supporting UK democracy through data protection with new political campaigning guidance”.
The Irish Data Protection Commission (“IDPC”) recently published a number of the decisions it issued in 2020. There was a piece on Lexology.
The Government’s website reported that the Home Secretary has appointed Fraser Sampson as the government’s new independent Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
The Government has published its action plan to better protect journalists from threats of violence and intimidation, which includes every UK police force being given access to a designated journalist safety liaison officer. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Freedom of speech and a free press are at the very core of our democracy, and journalists must be able to go about their work without being threatened. The cowardly attacks and abuse directed at reporters for simply doing their job cannot continue. This action plan is just the start of our work to protect those keeping the public informed, and defend those holding the government to account.” The Press Gazette had a piece.
The Society of Editors had a news “Society of Editors’ executive director steps down”.
IPSO had a blog post “Reporting domestic abuse this International Women’s Day”.
IPSO has published one ruling and resolution statement since our last Round Up:
- 00750-20 Manchester United v The Sun, 2 Privacy (2019), 3 Harassment (2019), No breach – after investigation
There were 17 new cases issued in the Media and Communications List last week – 12 data protection cases, 3 defamation cases, one Norwich Pharmacal application and one case classified as “miscellaneous” (against the BBC).
Last Week in the Courts
On 8 March 2021 Nicklin J heard an application in the case of COS v PER.
As already mentioned, on the same day, Collins-Rice J handed down judgment in the case of Ranger v Pycraft  EWHC 502 (QB)
On 9 March 2021 Collins-Rice J handed down judgment in the defamation case of Mirza v Farooqui  EWHC 532 (QB). Damages were assessed, following a default judgment, in the sum of £75,000
On 12 March 2021 Nicklin J heard an application in the case of Davies v Carter.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
Australia’s defense minister settled a defamation complaint and agreed to pay damages to a former aide who she accused of lying after reporting of being raped in the Parliament building. The minister, Linda Reynolds, retracted the remark made in private after lawyers for the former aide, Brittany Higgins, sent her a letter demanding a public apology for the “demeaning and belittling” comment. Ms. Reynolds issued a formal apology, saying she had never questioned Ms. Higgins’s account and retracted the comment, which, she said, she had “never intended” to make public. The New York Times had a piece.
The Committee to Protect Journalists had a piece “Brazilian sports blogger faces 5-month prison sentence over 2016 defamation case”.
A key section of Canada’s elections law designed to curb misinformation during elections has been struck down and declared unconstitutional. In a 15-page decision, Ontario Superior Court Justice Breese Davies ruled that the section is an unjustifiable restriction on Canadians’ right to free speech. While the federal government had asked the court to suspend the ruling for 12 months, the judge ruled that it takes effect immediately. CBC had a piece.
In the case of AA v BB 2021 ONCA 147 the Court of Appeal allowed the plaintiff’s appeal against the dismissal of a slander claim. The parties were anonymised to avoid the identification of their children.
The European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders has said that Ireland’s defamation laws should be reviewed as they may suppress the ability of the media to expose corruption. Mr Reynders is to raise the concerns in a virtual meeting with the Oireachtas European Affairs committee, in a discussion of Ireland’s record on judicial independence, media plurality, and anti-corruption measures. The Irish Times had a piece.
The Guardian has an article, ‘Wolf in watchdog’s clothing’: India’s new digital media laws spark fears for freedoms”
The Times of Israel reports that Yair Netanyahu, the son of the Prime Minister, is seeking to overturn $72,000 compensation he was ordered to pay former news editor, claiming he doesn’t read all posts he shares.
Malta Today reported “MediaToday editors ordered to pay court expert €2,000 in libel damages”.
Bloomberg had a news “Fake Glassdoor Posts by U.K. Executive Claimed in Suit by Rival”.
Research and Resources
- The Algorithmic Law of Business and Human Rights: Constructing a Private Transnational Law of Ratings, Social Credit, and Accountability Measures, Larry Catá Backer, The Pennsylvania State University (University Park) – Penn State Law, Matthew McQuilla, Pennsylvania State University
- Artificial Intelligence and the Right to Data Protection, Ralf Poscher, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law.
- Privacy, Confidentiality and Property, P Torremans, ed, Intellectual Property and Human Rights (Kluwer Law International, 2008-2019), Peter Jaffey, University of Leicester.
- Data Protection by Design? A Critique of Article 25 of the GDPR, Cornell International Law Journal, Vol. 53, 2021, Ari Ezra Waldman, Northeastern University.
- The Underdeterrence, Underperformance Response to Privacy, Data Protection Laws, Roberto Taufick, Largo de São Francisco Law School, University of Sao Paulo.
- Acceptance of Data Sharing in Smartphone Apps from Key Industries of the Digital Transformation: A Representative Population Survey for Germany MAGKS, Joint Discussion Paper Series in Economics, No. 02-2021, Svenja Mohr, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Janis Cloos, Clausthal University of Technology
- The Social Dilemma of Big Data: Donating Personal Data to Promote Social Welfare, Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper No. 21-08, CESifo Working Paper Series No. 8926, Kirsten Hillebrand, University of Bremen, Germany, Lars Hornuf, University of Bremen – Faculty of Business Studies and Economics; Max Planck Law Network – Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute).
- The Legal Bubble of the Data Driven Economy: Some Thoughts on ‘Legal Creative Destruction’ in the Digital Domain, Marco Giraudo, University of Turin; Collegio Carlo Alberto.
- SMART Law: Regulating by Big Data and Algorithms, “De la donnée à la décision: comment réguler par des données et des algorithmes”, in E. Godet, R. Mosseri et M. Bouzeghoub (ed.), Les Big Data à Decouvert, Paris, CNRS édition, 2017, pp. 80-82., David Restrepo-Amariles, HEC Paris – Tax & Law, Gregory Lewkowicz, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
- Big Data and Artificial Intelligence for Financial Inclusion: Benefits and Issues, Peterson K Ozili, Independent
- FTC Privacy and Data Security Enforcement and Guidance Under Section 5, 25:2 COMPETITION 89 (2016), Alexander Reicher, Yan Fang, University of California, Berkeley.
- Open Banking and Open Data in Australia: Global Context, Innovation and Consumer Protection, Qatar University College of Law, Working Paper Series, Working Paper No. 2021/001, Bruno Zeller, University of Western Australia – Faculty of Law, Andrew M. Dahdal, Qatar University – College of Law.
- Internet of Things for Smart Cities: Challenges, Security and Privacy Issues, Selvakumar Manickam, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Afiqah Kooy, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
- Revisiting Data Protection, Privacyand State Surveillance, Victoria Onyeagbako, My Intellectual Property Law Guide (MIPLG), Ademola Adeyoju, Independent
Next Week in the Courts
On 15 March 2021 Julian Knowles J will hear an application in the case of Ansari v Amini.
On 18 March 2021 the Court of Appeal will hear an application for permission to appeal in the case of Depp v News Group Newspapers.
On the same day, Nicklin J will hand down judgment in Ward v Associated Newspapers.
The following reserved judgments after a public hearing are outstanding:
Miller v College of Policing and another, heard 9 and 10 March 2021 (Sharp P, Haddon-Cave and Simler LJJ)
Lachaux v Independent Print, heard 22 and 24 February and 1 March 2021 (Nicklin J)
Wright v McCormack, heard 16 and 18 February 2021 (Julian Knowles J)
Desporte v Bull, heard 9 February 2021 (Julian Knowles J)
Spicer v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis, heard 1 to 5 February 2021 (Julian Knowles 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.