On 20 May 2021 the BBC published a Report by former Master of the Rolls and Supreme Court Justice, Lord Dyson into the circumstances of how BBC reporter Martin Bashir came to interview Princess Diana for the BBC Panorama in November 1995.
In the Report, Lord Dyson concludes that Bashir breached BBC rules by mocking up fake bank statements and deceived Diana’s brother Earl Spencer and that the BBC’s internal investigations into the matter were “woefully ineffective” (p. 319). He concludes that the broadcaster “fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark” (p.322). The BBC in response has issued a “full and unconditional apology”.
The news received wide press coverage, including articles on The Guardian, the Press Gazette and Hacked Off. The Guardian had an article “BBC faces calls to compensate whistleblowers after Diana ‘fiasco’”.
Associated Newspapers has agreed to pay substantial compensation after revealing an actress had made a rape complaint to the police, about a French film director. Sand Van Roy said she had always intended to stay anonymous – which is her automatic legal right in France, as it is in England, as someone who has made a rape complaint – but had the choice taken away from her (she has now waived her right to anonymity). Details of the complaint were leaked and widely reported in the French press and the Mail Online was the first UK title to report the allegation. The Mail Online has now accepted the articles were a breach of Van Roy’s privacy and data protection rights as she had not waived her right to anonymity. We had an Inforrm Post and The Press Gazette had a piece.
The Press Gazette had a piece “PA defeats ‘full-frontal attack on open justice’ in landmark win backing right to publish defendant addresses”.
As usual, updates on the Coronavirus guidance can be found on the Courts and Tribunal Judiciary.
Internet and Social Media
The Press Gazette had a piece “UK publishers face losing hundreds of millions in display ad revenue when Google switches off third-party cookies”.
The Guardian had a piece “TikTok takes down hundreds of Australian videos in misinformation crackdown”.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have published a joint statement, setting out their shared views on the relationship between competition and data protection in the digital economy.
The statement highlights the strong overlap between promoting and protecting competition in digital markets and safeguarding people’s data. The ICO’s website had a news.
The ICO has fined American Express Services Europe Limited (Amex) £90,000 for sending more than four million marketing emails to customers who did not want to receive them.
The emails included details on the rewards of shopping online with Amex; getting the most out of using the card and encouraging customers to download the Amex app. Amex had rejected its customers’ complaints saying the emails were servicing emails and not marketing. The ICO had a news.
The ICO published a statement “Data Sharing Code of Practice is laid before Parliament”
The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has adopted finalised Guidelines 8/2020 on the targeting of social media users under GDPR, following public consultation. Mishcon de Reya Data Matters had a post.
The Guardian had a piece “How Apple’s AirTag turns us into unwitting spies in a vast surveillance network”.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
The American journalist Barrett Brown has been arrested and detained in the UK for allegedly overstaying his visa and for alleged public order and incitement offences relating to his role in holding a protest banner which said: “Kill Cops.” The Guardian had a piece.
The Press Gazette had a piece “Journalism students now need training for ‘vile’ online abuse they will face, study finds”.
IPSO has published a number of rulings and resolutions statement since our last Round Up:
- 02697-21 Roberts v Telegraph.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2019), Resolved – IPSO mediation
- 00671-21 Charlesworth v express.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2019), Resolved – IPSO mediation
- 00396-21 Khan v Birmingham Mail, 1 Accuracy (2019), Resolved – IPSO mediation
- 28491-20 Simmons v mirror.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2019), No breach – after investigation.
- 12352-20 Hewitt v chroniclelive.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2019), No breach – after investigation
There were 18 new cases issued in the Media and Communications List between 17 and 24 May 2021: 13 data protection cases, 4 defamation cases and one malicious falsehood case.
Last Week in the Courts
In the case of Re Winch (Contra Mundum Injunction)  EWHC 1328 (QB) Warby LJ granted an interim contra mundum injunction to project the identity of an informer.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
On 18 May 2021 the High Court heard argument in the case of Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd v Voller. A transcript of the argument can be found here.
Mining billionaire Clive Palmer has declared he is confident he will win his defamation case against WA Premier Mark McGowan, revealing he plans to give evidence at the trial. The defamation action, filed in August in the Federal Court, claims Mr Palmer’s reputation was damaged and his feelings hurt after Mr McGowan repeatedly referred to him as “the enemy of West Australia” and claimed he wanted to “bankrupt the state”. The Sydney Morning Herald had a piece. The Guardian had a piece “Christian Porter lawyers accuse ABC of dragging its feet over defamation trial date”
The Irish News had a piece “Defamation laws in north could be reformed ‘by next year’’.
Bloomberg had a piece “Singapore Bloggers Turn to Crowdfunding to Pay Defamation Bills”.
Trinidad and Tobago
An Appeal Court judge has ruled that investigative journalists are expected to approach their articles with caution and critical care, as the court dismissed an appeal by a local media house of a judge’s ruling in favour of a former permanent secretary. Trinidad and Tobago Newsday had an article.
The US Department of Justice under the Trump administration secretly obtained the phone and email records of a CNN reporter who covers the Pentagon, the network reported. The justice department informed CNN’s Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, that the department had seized two months’ worth of phone and email records, between 1 June and 31 July 2017. Officials also obtained records from Starr’s work and personal email addresses. The Guardian had a piece.
Fox News Media asked a court in Delaware to dismiss a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed against it by Dominion Voting Systems over false claims about the 2020 presidential election amplified by some of its on-air personalities and guests. In a 61-page filing in the Delaware Supreme Court, lawyers for the media company argued Dominion’s lawsuit “threatens to stifle” the media’s First Amendment right to tell the public about “newsworthy allegations of paramount public concern,” such as those mounted by Mr. Trump and his legal team regarding the results of the presidential election. CBS News had a piece.
Research and Resources
- The Eye in the Sky Delivers (and Influences) What You Buy, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, Forthcoming, Hadar Yoana Jabotinsky, Tel Aviv University – Cegla Center for Interdisciplinary Research of the Law; The Hadar Jabotinsky Center for Interdisciplinary Research of Financial Markets, Crises and Technology (HJC), Michal Lavi, Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Faculty of Law; The Hadar Jabotinsky Center for Interdisciplinary Research of Financial Markets, Crises and Technology (HJC).
- Analysing The Practical Implications Of A Right To Privacy: State Surveillance And Constitution, 8 Indian Constitutional Law Review 99-116 (2019), Anubhav Khamroi, Jindal Global Law School, Anujay Shrivastava, Independent.
- Reconsidering Privacy Choices: The Impact of Defaults, Reversibility, and Repetition, Cameron Kormylo, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University – Pamplin College of Business, Idris Adjerid, Pamplin College of Business.
- Virtual Court: Privacy and Security of the Vulnerable, Gabrielle Scarlett, University of Denver
- Freedom of Expression v. Social Responsibility on the Internet: Vivi Down Association v. Google Seattle Journal of Technology, Environmental, & Innovation Law, Vol. 11: Iss. 2, Article 5 (2021). , Raphael Cohen-Almagor, University of Hull, Natalina Stamile, Federal University of Parana (UFPR)
Next Week In the Courts
On 24 May 2021 Nicklin J will hand down judgment in The Mayor and Commonalty and Citizens of the City of London v Persons and will hear consequential argument in a number of related cases.
On 26 May 2021 Nicklin J will hear the libel case of Bindel v PinkNews Media Group Ltd.
On the same day Tipples j will hear an application in the case of Mincione v GEDI Gruppo Editoriale SpA.
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.