The Online Safety Bill [pdf] was published in draft on 12 May 2021.  In a press release about the plan, the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) claimed the “landmark laws” will “keep children safe, stop racial hate and protect democracy online”.

There were pieces about the Bill in

The Bill has been criticised for failing to provide protection against online scams and fraud.  Hacked Off drew attention to a loophole in Online Safety Bill which would create “safe havens for those responsible for racism, hate and abuse online”

The judgment in the Duchess of Sussex’s copyright case against the Mail on Sunday was published on 12 May 2021 ([2021] EWHC 1245 (Ch).  Warby LJ described the newspaper’s case as “unreal”.  There was an article on Hold the Front Page and a piece in the Press Gazette.

Blogger and former diplomat Craig Murray was sentenced to 8 months in prison for his coverage of the Alex Salmond trial in relation to material material identifying the complainants.  The Press Gazette had a piece.

The LSE Media Policy Project blog has a piece by Damian Tambini, “Public service media should be thinking long term when it comes to AI“.

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

Internet and Social Media

Google has announced privacy features that allow marketers to gain insights in Google Analytics and other measurement products without the use of third-party cookies and identifiers.

ZDNet reports that a data leak has implicated over 200,000 people in Amazon fake product review scam.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The Wall Street Journal reports that on 14 May 2021 the High Court in Ireland dismissed all of Facebook’s procedural complaints in a preliminary decision from Ireland’s Data Protection Commission regarding data transfers from the EU to the U.S

Google announced that it will follow industry standards with respect to privacy obligations. All developers with apps on Google Play will be required to disclose the type of data collected and stored and how such data is used by Q2 of 2022.  There was a piece on the Data Protection Report.

On May 2, 2021, the Norwegian data protection authority, Datatilsynet, notified Disqus Inc. (“Disqus”), a U.S. company owned by Zeta Global, of its intention to issue a fine of 25 million Norwegian Krone (approximately 2.5 million Euros). The preliminary fine was issued for failure to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation’s (“GDPR”) accountability, lawfulness and transparency requirements, primarily due to Disqus’ tracking of website visitor.  The Privacy and Information Security Law Blog reports.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The ICO has published a blog reminding the public that it is working on updating its guidance for the media on data protection in line with its obligations under s.124 of the Data Protection Act 2018.

IPSO has published three rulings and one resolution statement since our last Round Up:

New Cases

There were 16 new cases issued in the Media and Communications List between 10 and 17 May 2021:  9 data protection cases, 4  defamation cases, 2 Norwich Pharmacal applications and  one misuse of private information case.

Last Week in the Courts

On 10 to 12 May 2021 the trial in the case of Riley v Murray took place before Nicklin J.  Judgment was reserved. There was a report on the trial in Jewish News.

As already mentioned, judgment was handed down in the case of HRH Duchess of Sussex v Associated Newspapers ([2021] EWHC 1245 (Ch) by Warby LJ on 12 May 2021.

The contract and slander trial in MUSST Holdings Limited v Astra Asset Management UK Limited and another continued before Freedman J on 10 and 11 May 2021.

On 14 May 2021 judgment was handed down by the Court of Appeal in the case of Sivier v Riley [2021] EWCA Civ 713.  The appeal against the striking out of the defence of public interest was allowed.  There was a news piece on Sky News and a Daily Mail article.

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


In the case of V’landys v Australian Broadcasting Corporation (No 3) [2021] FCA 500 Wigney J dismissed a defamation claim by Racing NSW chief executive over a report showing graphic footage of retired racehorses being slaughtered at a Queensland abattoir. There was a report in the Guardian.

In the case of Kumar & Anor v Raghupathy [2021] VCC 532 the County Court of Victoria awarded $200,000 in damages to two brothers, one of whom owns the Thornbury Theatre, over “false and defamatory” comments on Facebook that linked them to political fraud in the Labor Party.  There is a report in the Age.

In the case of Heath v LawTap Pty Ltd [2021] FCA 485 Mortimer J made an order for preliminary discovery in an action concerning online defamatory comments.

The police in the state of Victoria have said that they will settle a claim brought by a former AFL coach who was outed as transgender when vulnerable photos of her in custody were leaked to the press.

It is reported that fresh allegations have been made about the behaviour of Gold Logie-winning actor Craig McLachlan in documents filed in a defamation case, including a claim he whispered to a woman that she was attractive while she was playing a dead body on an ABC television show.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a friend of the woman who accused Christian Porter of rape has made a Federal Court bid to stop a high-profile Sydney barrister from acting for him in his defamation case against the ABC on the grounds she had previously advised the friend in a separate matter.  There was also a report in the Guardian.


CBC reports that a Winnipeg businessman has been awarded $500,000 in damages by a Manitoba jury in a civil defamation lawsuit.   Marcel Chartier, a real estate investor and developer, sued Winnipeg businessman Serge Bibeau in 2018 after learning Bibeau had called him a thief to a business associate.


The Irish Examiner reports that two journalists have asked the High Court for orders requiring social media giant Twitter to provide them with information about account holders they allege have defamed them.  There was also a report in the Independent.

New Zealand

Stuff reports that Sergey Grishin, said to be a Russian billionaire has gone to court in New Zealand against a small law news publisher to obtain copies of documents relating to proceedings involving his former wife.

United States

In the case of Hedine v. Guerrero, the Washington Court of Appeals reversed an order banning “Defamatory and Harassing” Posts About Judge and Court Employees.  There was a post on the Volokh Conspiracy blog.

The National Law Review reports on a case in which a baseball umpire was awarded $500,000 defamation damages against a player.  These included $250,000 to fund a public relations campaign to remove material from the internet.


Reuters reports that a Venezuelan court has seized the headquarters of the El Nacional newspaper, after it failed to pay a $13 million defamation award to top socialist party official Diosdado Cabello.


Zambia Daily Mail reports that former National Democratic Congress (NDC) president Chishimba Kambwili has been acquitted in a matter he was accused of defaming President Edgar Lungu.

Research and Resources

Next Week In the Courts

On 19 May 2021 Collins Rice J will hand down judgment in Rondon v Lexis Nexis Risk Solutions UK Ltd (heard April 2021).

Reserved Judgments

The following reserved judgments after a public hearing are outstanding:

Riley v Murray, heard 10 to 12 May 2021 (Nicklin J)

Lloyd v Google, heard 28 and 29 April 2021 (UKSC)

Hijazi v Yaxley-Lennon, heard 21-23 and 26 April 2021 (Nicklin J)

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)

Ansari v Amini, heard 10-11 November 2020 (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.