The biggest media story of the week was the Sun’s publication of a photograph (and subsequently a video) of the then Health Secretary Matt Hancock in a “steamy clinch” with an aide. The following day, although backed the Prime Minister, Mr Hancock resigned. There was an Inforrm post about the legal issues arising.
On 22 June 2021 Bean LJ granted Associated Newspapers permission to appeal in the privacy case brought against the Mail On Sunday by the Duchess of Sussex. The appeal will be listed for 1 to 2 days, with a “hear by” date of 22 October 2022. There was a report about the permission to appeal decision on Byline Investigates.
An online troll who told a journalist to kill herself and accused her of being a “Nazi supporter” has been sentenced over the abuse sent in an email to Hull Daily Mail journalist Anna Riley, whose address she also threatened to publish. Elizabeth O’Brien pleaded guilty to one count of sending malicious communications at Hull Magistrates’ Court and was made the subject of a community order where she must carry out 80 hours of unpaid work. It is understood the email was sent in response to a story about a Labour councillor in Hull who defended comments she made just hours after Prince Philip died. Hold the Front Page had a piece.
Rupert Murdoch-owned News UK argued the legal conditions, implemented when Murdoch bought The Times and Sunday Times in 1981, are now “outdated” given the media industry is now “unrecognisable” from 40 years ago. News UK said it now wants to further integrate the Times and Sunday Times feature desks across seven days and merge editorial services across areas including pictures, graphics, subbing and production.
The legal requirements, designed to protect media plurality when Murdoch bought the Times titles as he already owned The Sun and the News of the World, state the newspapers must be kept separate and editorially independent under the supervision of six independent directors. News UK argued the Government could have no credible plurality concerns after allowing Daily Mail and Metro owner to buy the i and for Reach to buy the Express and Star titles in recent years. The request comes after then-Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright allowed the Times and Sunday Times to share more journalistic resources in 2019, the first change to the conditions since 1981. The Press Gazette had a piece. The Guardian had a piece “Murdoch seeks to remove editorial independence rules at the Times”.
Byline Investigates had a piece “Lord Rothermere’s Mail on Sunday suffers ANOTHER humiliating defeat in the libel courts – just months after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle won their pay-outs”.
There was also a Byline Investigates piece about another successful libel action “David & Goliath – Businessman’s libel victory over Mail on Sunday after 25-year bid to clear his name”
As usual, updates on the Coronavirus guidance can be found on the Courts and Tribunal Judiciary.
Internet and Social Media
The Financial Times had an article “Google delays plan to phase out third-party cookies by 2 years”.
Representatives for Facebook and Google have said they are both going to provide more active support to the news media over the next five years. The Press Gazette had a piece.
The Press Gazette had a news “Facebook is social media site where readers are most likely to see news (and misinformation)”.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
The Prime Ministerial Taskforce on Innovation, Growth, and Regulatory Reform (TIGRR) published a 130-page report setting out a “new regulatory framework” for the UK. It offers a possible glimpse of the future of data regulation.
The report covers space and satellites, nutraceuticals, clinical trials and Fintech, energy, transport, agriculture, and the environment. Its authors argue for a fresh approach in light of the UK having left the EU. The Panopticon blog had a post.
The ICO’s blog had a post “Blog: What’s next for data ethics?”.
The ICO reported it has fined a home improvement company £130,000 for making more than 900,000 nuisance marketing calls. Colour Coat Ltd of St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex which provides a range of services including coatings, insulation and roof repairs, made the calls over an eight month period. Following more than 50 complaints from the public, the ICO’s investigation found that a significant proportion of Colour Coat’s marketing calls selling its services, were to numbers that were registered on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS) which is for businesses. Colour Coat were also found to have repeatedly called people who had asked not to be called and it didn’t identify itself on the calls or provided false company names including “Homes Advice Bureau”, “EcoSolve UK” and, on one occasion, “Citizens’ Advice Bureau”.
Mishcon de Reya Data Matters had a post “ICO Opinion on live facial recognition”.
The Financial Times had a piece “Meet the activists perfecting the craft of anti-surveillance”.
The Guardian had an article “I spy: are smart doorbells creating a global surveillance network?”.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
IPSO has published a number of rulings and resolutions statement since our last Round Up:
- 28280-20 A man v Isle of Wight County Press, 2 Privacy (2019), 3 Harassment (2019), 6 Children (2019), 9 Reporting of crime (2019), 11 Victims of sexual assault (2019), 1 Accuracy (2019), Breach – sanction: publication of adjudication.
- 02716-21 Savant v Mirror.co.uk, 4 Intrusion into grief or shock (2019), 5 Reporting suicide (2019), Resolved – IPSO mediation.
- 02607-21 Various v thesun.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2019), Breach – sanction: action as offered by publication.
- 01413-21 Hanney v express.co.uk, Relevant code provisions, 1 Accuracy (2019), No breach – after investigation
New Issued Cases
There were 14 new cases issued in the Media and Communications List between 21 and 28 June 2021: 8 data protection cases, 2 defamation cases, one injunction, one misuse of private information case, one application for permission to read a statement in open court and one Norwich Pharmacal application.
Last Week in the Courts
On 23 June 2021 in the case of Abbasi v Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals  EWHC 1699 (Fam) McFarlane P held there was jurisdiction to maintain or re-impose a reporting restriction order protecting the anonymity of clinicians and other treating staff involved in the care of a child, now deceased, who had been the subject of end of life proceedings under the inherent jurisdiction, where the order was to remain in force for a significant period following the child’s death.
On 24 June 2021 the Court of Appeal (Popplewell, Dingemans and Carr LJJ) heard the appeal in the case of Greenstein v Campaign Against Antisemitism. Judgment was reserved.
Media Law in Other Jurisdiction
The Guardian had a piece “ Peter Dutton accuses Shane Bazzi of malice over abusive tweets in defamation case”.
ABC News had an article “There are two versions of the facts at Ben Roberts-Smith’s defamation trial. Neither is kind to the SAS”.
The Committee to Protect Journalists had an alert “Photojournalist Ian Willms detained while covering police in Toronto”.
The Tribune had an article “Defamation case: Rahul appears in Gujarat court”.
Shop staff asking a customer to show a receipt for goods they have bought in the store does not of itself amount to defamation of character, Judge John O’Connor in the Circuit Civil Court ruled, when he threw out a €75,000 damages claim. The Irish Times had an article.
The law license of Rudy Giuliani, personal lawyer to the former President Donald Trump, was suspended after a disciplinary panel in New York published a decision detailing findings that Giuliani repeatedly lied about election fraud, voting machine rigging, and peddled conspiracy theories. Byline Times had a piece.
The case of Jeff Bezos and Michael Sanchez (the brother of Bezos’ girlfriend), reached a Seattle court. The case is about an unsuccessful defamation suit Sanchez lodged last year against Bezos, which ended in a court order that Sanchez pay the legal fees of Bezos and his security consultant, Gavin de Becker. Bezos filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court contending Sanchez tried to conceal the ownership of his largest asset — a multimillion-dollar home — to avoid paying that $254,404 judgment. Seattle Times had an article.
Reuters had a piece “Judge presses Giuliani, others on $1.3 billion defamation claims”.
Research and Resources
- Browser Tying and Data Privacy Innovation, Stephen Dnes, Northeastern University.
- Instagram Data Donation: A Case for Partnering with Social Media Platforms to Protect Adolescents Online, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2021)/Social Media as a Design and Research Site in HCI: Mapping Out Opportunities and Envisioning Future Uses Workshop, Xavier Caddle, University of Central Florida, Ashwaq Alsoubai, University of Central Florida, Afsaneh Razi, University of Central Florida, Seunghyun Kim, Georgia Institute of Technology, Shiza Ali, Boston University, Gianluca Stringhini, Boston University, Munmun De Choudhury, Georgia Institute of Technology, Pamela Wisniewski, University of Central Florida.
- The Deployment of Artificial Intelligence Tools in the Health Sector: Privacy Concerns and Regulatory Answers within the GDPR, European Journal of Legal Studies 13 (1), June 2021, 29-44, Mirko Forti, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna di Pisa – School of Law.
- Rejecting Test Surveillance in Higher Education, Lindsey Barrett, Georgetown University Law Center.
- Data Privacy and Inmate Recidivism, Virginia Law Review, Vol. 102, No. 101, 2016, Chad Squitieri, Independent.
- Unity in Privacy Diversity: A Kaleidoscopic View of Privacy Definitions, South Carolina Law Review, Vol. 73, No. 2, 2021, Bert-Jaap Koops, Tilburg University – Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT), Maša Galič, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department Criminal Law and Criminology.
- The ‘Social Media Discount’ and First Amendment Exceptionalism, University of Memphis Law Review, Vol. 50, No. 387, 2019, Frank LoMonte, University of Florida.
- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Behavior, Cardozo Law Review, Vol. 40, No. 6, 2019, Michal Lavi, Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Faculty of Law; The Hadar Jabotinsky Center for Interdisciplinary Research of Financial Markets, Crises and Technology (HJC).
- Defamation, Race and Racism, Australian Feminist Law Journal, Vol. 45, No. 2, pp. 351-71, 2019, David Rolph, The University of Sydney Law School
Next Week In the Courts
On 28 June 2021 Murray J will hand down judgment in the case of Watkins v Mackle.
On 1 July 2021 Nicklin J will hand down judgment in the case of Lachaux v Independent Media.
On the same day there will be a hearing in the privacy case of GUH v KYT before Collins Rice J.
The following reserved judgments after a public hearing are outstanding:
Greenstein v Campaign Against Antisemitism, heard 24 June 2021 (Popplewell, Dingemans and Carr LJJ)
Vardy v Rooney, heard 18 June 2021 (Steyn J)
Masarir v Kingdom of Saudi Arabia., heard 15 and 16 June 2021 (Julian Knowles J)
Bindel v PinkNews Media Group Ltd, heard 26 May 2021 (Nicklin J)
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.
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