Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) has lost a libel case brought against him by a Syrian schoolboy who was filmed being attacked at school. Mr Yaxley-Lennon was ordered to pay £100,000 in libel damages after he published two Facebook videos in response to a viral clip of Jamal Hijazi being attacked. He failed in his truth defence: that Mr Hijazi had attacked “young English girls”, were true and Mr Justice Nicklin found in Mr Hijazi’s favour ( EWHC 2008 (QB)). The judge also ordered Mr Yaxley-Lennon to pay legal costs understood to amount to about £500,000. The BBC and the Press Gazette had pieces.
The Law Society Gazette had a piece about this case and the recently judgment in Lachaux v Independent Print: “Six-figure awards set serious libel benchmark”.
The same publication also had a piece about the recent decision in McNally v Saunders, “Retired solicitor sees off harassment claim over ‘puerile’ blog”.
The Press Gazette had a piece “Press Gazette’s submission to Government consultation on Official Secrets Act reforms.”
Byline Investigates had a piece “Former Coronation Street star set to be a witness in ‘phone hacking’ case against the Fake Sheikh Mazher Mahmood.”
As usual, updates on the Coronavirus guidance can be found on the Courts and Tribunal Judiciary.
Internet and Social Media
The US Justice Department said that a 22-year-old British citizen has been arrested in Spain in connection with a July 2020 Twitter hack that compromised the accounts of high-profile politicians and celebrities. The Guardian had a piece.
The Guardian had a piece “YouTube pulls Jair Bolsonaro videos for Covid-19 misinformation.”
Data Privacy and Data Protection
DLA Piper Privacy Matters had a post “Ireland & UK: Latest trends in data subject access requests in pending litigation”.
The Conversation had a piece “Spyware: why the booming surveillance tech industry is vulnerable to corruption and abuse.”
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
The UK government has proposed new legislation to counter state threats, including an overhaul of the Official Secrets Act. According to the Home Office, the new legislation is necessary because “the existing legislation does not sufficiently capture the discernible and very real threat posed by state threats”.
The Society of Editors had a news “Society appoints Dawn Alford as new Executive Director.”
IPSO has published a number of rulings and resolutions statement since our last Round Up:
- Decision of the Complaints Committee – 27726-20 The Family of Sue Woods v liverpoolecho.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2019), 4 Intrusion into grief or shock (2019), 2 Privacy (2019), 3 Harassment (2019), Breach – sanction: publication of correction.
- Resolution Statement – 05628-21 Agyen v Daily Mail, 1 Accuracy (2019), Resolved – IPSO mediation.
- Decision of the Complaints Committee – 02975-21 Askey v thesun.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2019), 3 Harassment (2019), 4 Intrusion into grief or shock (2019), 9 Reporting of crime (2019), Breach – sanction: action as offered by publication.
- Decision of the Complaints Committee – 02706-21 Roberts v Mail Online, 1 Accuracy (2019), Breach – sanction: publication of correction.
- Decision of the Complaints Committee – 01843-21 File v express.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2019), No breach – after investigation.
- Decision of the Complaints Committee – 01695-21 Parrott v Norwich Evening News, 1 Accuracy (2019), 12 Discrimination (2019), Breach – sanction: action as offered by publication.
- Decision of the Complaints Committee – 00797-21 Sloane v Mail Online, 1 Accuracy (2019), Breach – sanction: publication of correction.
- Decision of the Complaints Committee – 00474-21 A woman v lep.co.uk, 7 Children in sex cases (2019), 11 Victims of sexual assault (2019), 4 Intrusion into grief or shock (2019), 2 Privacy (2019), 6 Children (2019), Breach – sanction: publication of adjudication.
- Decision of the Complaints Committee – 00528-21 McDade v The Scottish Sun, 4 Intrusion into grief or shock (2019), 6 Children (2019), No breach – after investigation
New Issued Cases
There were 7 new cases issued in the Media and Communications List between 18 and 26 July 2021: 4 data protection cases, 1 defamation case, 1 harassment case and 1 injunction application.
The judgment in the case of Tipples J in the case of Mincione v Gedi Gruppo Editoriale SpA  EWHC 2006 (QB), handed down on 27 May 2021 was made available on Bailii. The claim for an internet injunction by an Italian national resident in Switzerland was dismissed. The claimant has applied for permission to appeal.
Last Week in the Courts
On 19 July 2021 , Saini J heard the meaning trial in Ashley v Times Newspapers. Judgment was handed down on 23 July 2021 ( EWHC 2082 (QB). The Judge found that the words complained of bore certain Chase Level 2 meanings which were defamatory of the claimant.
As already mentioned, on 20 July 2021 Nicklin J handed down judgment in the case of Hijazi v Yaxley-Lennon ( EWHC 2008 (QB)) heard 21-23 and 26 April 2021).
Media Law in Other Jurisdiction
In the case of Wraydeh v Fairfax Media Publications Pty Limited  NSWCA 153 the court dismissed the plaintiff’s appeals against the judge’s decision that newspaper reports concerning his involvement in a road traffic accident were covered by common law qualified privilege.
In the case of Defteros v Google  VSCA 17, various appeals from libel cases based on Google search results were dismissed.
In Dean v Puleio  VCC 848 the County Court judge awarded damages of $170,000 in respect of defamatory Google reviews.
The Guardian had a piece “Negative criticism: can the surge in Google review defamation cases be stopped?.”
The Guardian had an article “John Barilaro’s lawyers brush off ‘pork barrelling’ statement in Friendlyjordies defamation case.”
The Irish Examiner had a piece “Sides fail to agree wording of orders in journalists’ defamation case against Eoghan Harris.”
Morocco has filed defamation claims against Amnesty International and a French NGO who claim its intelligence services used the Pegasus mobile phone spyware against dozens of French journalists. Paris prosecutors opened their own inquiry into the claims. France 24 had a piece.
A dozen Thai pro-democracy student activists were charged with royal defamation and sedition, their lawyers said, over a rally last year that demanded reforms to Thailand’s unassailable monarchy. Voice of America had a news.
Travis Price, a South Carolina man whose charges were dropped after police body camera footage showed he did not fight an officer who attacked him is suing the city of Rock Hill and U.S Rep. Ralph Norman for defamation. The Huffpost had a piece.
Research and Resources
- Playing Fair in the Privacy Sandbox: Competition, Privacy and Interoperability Standards, Mark Nottingham University of Melbourne – Melbourne Law School,
- Artificial Illusions: Deepfakes as Speech, Intersect Vol. 14 No. 3 (2021), Nicolas Graber-Mitchell, Amherst College
- Integrating Law, Technology and Design: Teaching Data Protection & Privacy Law in a Digital Age, Marcelo Corrales Compagnucci, Centre for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation Law (CeBIL), Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, Mark Fenwick, Kyushu University – Graduate School of Law, Helena Haapio, University of Vaasa, School of Accounting and Finance, Business Law; Lexpert Ltd, Erik P.M. Vermeulen, Tilburg Law School.
- Cybersecurity Attacks: Regulatory and Practical Approach Towards Preventing Data Breach and Cyber-Attacks in USA, Seth Azubuike, Northeastern University, School of Law; Boston Bar Association; IAPP.
- Global Data Privacy 2021: DPAs Joining Networks Are the Rule, (2021) 170 Privacy Laws & Business International Report, 23-26, Graham Greenleaf, University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law
- Privacy Protection in Personalized Web Search Using Software Applications – Tools and Plug-Ins, Krishan Kumar, Suresh Gyan Vihar University, Mukesh Kumar Gupta, Suresh Gyan Vihar University, Vivek Jaglan, Amity University, Gurgaon, India.
- Dark Traits and Hacking Potential, Gaia, J., Sanders, G. L., Sanders, S. P., Upadhyaya, S., Wang, X., & Yoo, C. W. (2021). Dark Traits and Hacking Potential. Journal of Organizational Psychology, 21(3). https://doi.org/10.33423/jop.v21i3.4307, G. Lawrence Sanders, State University of New York at Buffalo.
- The emergence of platform regulation in the UK: an empirical-legal study, Martin Kretschmer, School of Law, Philip Schlesinger, University of Glasgow, Ula Furgal, University of Glasgow – School of Law.
Next Week in the Courts
On 26 July 2021, Nicklin J will hear applications in the cases of BHX v GRX and BHX v Victim Support.
On the same day Saini J will hear an assessment of damages in the case of Aslani v Sobierajska
On 28 July 2021 Tipples J will hear the trials of preliminary issues as to meaning and personal data in the cases of Abramovich v HarperCollins, Fridman v HarperCollins, Aven v HarperCollins and Rosneft v HarperCollins
The following reserved judgments after a public hearing are outstanding:
Swan v Associated Newspapers, heard 15 July 2021 (Nicklin J)
Masarir v Kingdom of Saudi Arabia., heard 15 and 16 June 2021 (Julian Knowles J)
Riley v Murray, heard 10 to 12 May 2021 (Nicklin J)
Lloyd v Google, heard 28 and 29 April 2021 (UKSC)
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)
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.