Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster is suing TV presenter Dr Christian Jessen for defamation, saying he made an “attack” on her marriage with a tweet from 23 December 2019 which remained online until Dr Jessen deleted it on 7 January 2020.
Mrs Foster told the High Court in Belfast it had been a “very humiliating” time for her. There was no representation on behalf of Dr Jessen and the court was told that 13 separate approaches by letter and email to Dr Jessen had gone “unanswered”. Judgment was reserved in the case. The BBC had a piece as did the Belfast Telegraph. Judgment will be handed down on Wednesday 21 April 2021.
The NME reports that there are three documentaries being made about the Depp v News Group Newspapers trial.
The Press Gazette reported on a study of court reporting in the UK, which has concluded that public funding should be considered to safeguard the ability of local newspapers to be the eyes and ears of the public.
Marks & Spencer said it had begun legal action against Aldi to “protect” the caterpillar cake Colin from rival chocolate sponge roll Cuthbert. M&S argues the similarities mean consumers think they are of the same standard, enabling its cheaper rival – Cuthbert costs £5 while Colin is £7 – to “ride on the coat-tails” of the company’s reputation for high-quality food. M&S, which has lodged an intellectual property claim with the high court, has three trademarks relating to its caterpillar cake, including the words “Colin the Caterpillar” and the packaging. It wants Aldi to remove Cuthbert from its shelves and agree not to sell anything similar in the future. The Guardian had a piece.
The Press Gazette had a piece “Covid-19 and the rise of misinformation and misunderstanding”.
As usual, updates on the Coronavirus guidance can be found on the Courts and Tribunal Judiciary.
Internet and Social Media
Facebook has rolled out a local news section for UK users of Facebook News. The social network said in a blog post that the new feature will help “hundreds of publishers drive additional audiences to their sites and connect people to the news that matters to them most”. The Press Gazette had a piece.
The UK’s competition watchdog wants to create “greater incentives” for tech giants like Facebook and Google to bargain in good faith with news publishers over payment for content. Two directors from the Competition and Markets Authority told the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee they favour a code of conduct being put in place in the style of Australia to ensure there are “fair and reasonable terms” between platforms and content providers. There was a piece on the Press Gazette.
Instagram apologises for promoting weight-loss content to users with eating disorders. The Guardian had a piece.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
The Irish data privacy watchdog has started an inquiry into the circumstances around how personal data linked to about 530 million Facebook users worldwide became available online. The Data Protection Commission said that it had launched an “own-volition inquiry” under data privacy laws in the wake of international media reports into leaked personal information of global users of the social network, including up to 1.5 million people affected in Ireland. The Irish Times had a piece.
Norton Rose Fulbright Data Protection Report had a post “EDPB cautiously welcomes UK adequacy finding”.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
IPSO has published one ruling and resolution statement since our last Round Up:
There were 16 new cases issued in the Media and Communications List between 12 and 16 April 2021: 11 data protection cases, one defamation case, one “breach of privacy” case and one malicious falsehood case and two Norwich Pharmacal applications (both against Facebook Ireland Ltd).
Last Week in the Courts
On 13 April 2021 Johnson J handed down judgment in the case of Soriano v Forensic News LLC and others  EWHC 873 (QB).
On 15 April 2021 Nicklin J heard an application in the case of Hijazi v Yaxley-Lennon.
On 15 and 16 April 2021 Saini J heard the trial of the case of Coker v Nwakanma. Judgment was reserved.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe has responded to Twitter’s decision to shut down his account by announcing he will sue the tech giant for defamation. Sky News had a piece.
A highly respected doctor who was thrown in the back of a divvy van after allegedly being falsely accused by Victoria Police of stealing from a bottleshop is suing the force for defamation and false imprisonment. ABC News had an article.
Independent movement GetUp commissioned and published a report on media concentration in Australia “Who Controls Our Media? – the new report commissioned by GetUp”
It has been reported that singer Dana Rosemary Scallon have said she has received a second six-figure sum in settlement of a defamation claim against the Sunday World newspaper.
Sunday World reports that Mark White, a Dublin man, who claimed he had been accused in a McDonalds Restaurant by a staff member of having laced two Coca Cola drinks with vodka, has lost a €75,000 defamation claim against the restaurant chain.
The Press Gazette had a piece “Russian authorities question journalist who wrote story linking Putin associate to superyacht”.
A Singaporean activist has raised $144,389 ($108,200) through social media to cover defamation damages he had to pay Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the second such crowdfunding case involving a blogger this month. The prime minister sued Roy Ngerng for a blog post in 2014 in which Ngerng allegedly implicated Lee in impropriety in connection with how funds in Singapore’s mandatory retirement savings scheme, the Central Provident Fund(CPF), are managed. Reuters had an article.
The Hill reported “Fox News hires high-profile defense team in Dominion defamation lawsuit”.
Joe West, Major League Baseball’s senior umpire, was awarded $500,000 plus interest by the New York Supreme Court in a defamation lawsuit against former catcher Paul Lo Duca. The lawsuit stemmed from Lo Duca’s accusation on a podcast that reliever Billy Wagner, a former teammate on the New York Mets, had bribed West into calling a bigger strike zone by letting him drive his 1957 Chevrolet. The Washington Post had a piece.
Venezuela’s supreme court has awarded $13 million to top socialist party official Diosdado Cabello in a defamation case against a newspaper, but the paper’s lawyer said the outlet could not afford to pay. Reuters had a piece.
Research and Resources
- The Balkanization of Data Privacy Regulation, West Virginia Law Review, Vol. 123, No. 61, 2020, Fernanda Nicola, American University – Washington College of Law, Oreste Pollicino, Bocconi University – Department of Law.
- Cyber Security and Privacy Internal Attacks Measurements Through Block Chain, Journal of Information Technology in Industry, 9(1), 1033-1044. ISSN Online: 2203-1731. , Sai Manoj K., Srinivas University, P. S. Aithal, Srinivas University.
- IoT & Privacy – Issues in Modern World, Kamshad Mohsin, Maharishi University of Information Technology.
- Privacy of Internet Users in the Era of Transformative Marketing, Journal of Management Practices, Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol 4 Issue 2 pp. 25-28 (2020), Muhammad Farooq, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Qasim Ali Qureshi, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM).
- The Law of Employee Data: Privacy, Property, Governance, Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 97, 2021-2022, Matthew T. Bodie, Saint Louis University School of Law.
- Security Law, Regulation and Public Policy for Accounting Professionals, Security4Accountants, 2021, John W. Bagby, Pennsylvania State University.
- Administrative-turned-Criminal Searches: The Fragmented Privacy Rights of Occupants in Condemned Housing, Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law, Joanne Choi, Independent; Columbia Law School.
- Caveat Usor: Surveillance Capitalism as Epistemic Inequality, Zuboff, Shoshana, “Caveat Usor: Surveillance Capitalism as Epistemic Inequality,” in Kevin Werbach ed., After the Digital Tornado, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 2020., Shoshana Zuboff, Harvard Business School; Harvard Kennedy School, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.
- Privacy Class Action Settlement Trends: Industry Practice or Improper Incentives?, Review of Litigation, Vol. 40, 2021, , Katherine Cienkus, University of Notre Dame – Notre Dame Law School.
- Familial DNA Searching and the Charter, In Robert Diab and Chris Hunt, eds. “Digital Privacy and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms” (Thomson Reuters, 2021 Forthcoming), Colton Fehr, Simon Fraser University
Next Week In the Courts
On Monday 19 April 2021 there will be a Statement in Open Court in the case of Wain and Kelly v Channel 5 Broadcasting, before Collins Rice J.
On Tuesday 20 April 2021, the Court of Appeal (Vos MR, Sharp P, Warby LJ) will hand down judgment in the case of Millett v Corbyn (heard 16 March 2021).
On the same day Collins Rice J will hear an application for strike out/summary judgment in the data protection case of Rondon v Lexis Nexis Risk Solutions UK Ltd.
On 21 April 2021, the trial of the case of Hijazi v Yaxley-Lennon will begin before Nicklin J.
On 23 April 2021 Saini J will hand down judgment in the case of Coker v Nwakanma (heard 15 and 16 April 2021).
The following reserved judgments after a public hearing are outstanding:
Kumlin v Jonsson, heard 24 and 25 March 2021 (Julian Knowles J).
Junejo v New Vision TV Limited, heard 24 and 25 March 2021 (Murray J)
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.