The Inforrm summer break ends today.  This is the first Weekly Law and Media Round Up of the new legal term. The Michaelmas term begins on Friday 1 October 2021.

Rupert Murdoch has announced that his new TV channel, TalkTV, will begin airing in the UK at the start of 2022, with Piers Morgan as a figurehead. This announcement follows a series of mishaps at rival right-leaning network, GB News, and the resignation of their Chairman, Andrew Neil. TalkTV will be able to draw on Murdoch’s well-established News UK brands, including The Times, which has just overtaken The Guardian as the most bought newspaper by the BBC.

Kae Kurd has begun an unusual defamation claim on the stand-up comedy circuit against fellow comedian, Darius Davies. Last year, Davies publicly accused Kurd of plagiarising a gag that compares a smart fridge to a nagging wife. Kurd has instructed Harbottle & Lewis to begin libel proceedings against Davies over his public accusations of plagiarism.

There has been considerable discussion online as to why the press were so slow to give the tragic murder of Sabina Nessa the coverage it warranted. Comparisons have been drawn to the reaction to Sarah Everard’s murder earlier this year, and many commentators have pointed to race as the most likely explanation for the initial lack of attention.

Internet and Social Media

Former TV journalist John Stossel has filed a lawsuit against Facebook alleging that the company defamed him by appending fact-checking labels to two videos he posted about climate change. Stossel claims $2 million for the reputational harm and reduced viewership that he alleges occurred as a result of Facebook’s labels. Stossel alleges that one label falsely attributed a statement to him, while another labelled a video “partly false” without actually challenging any facts in the video. More information can be found here and here.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

China has passed its first personal data protection law (Personal Information Protection Law, PIPL) which will take effect form 1 November 2021. App makers will now have to offer users options over how their information is used, which includes opting out of targeted advertising. Data processors must obtain consent from individuals in order to be able to process sensitive data like biometrics, medical and health data, financial information and location data. TechCrunch has more information.

France’s data protection authority (CNIL) has issued a €1.75 million penalty fine for over-retention of personal data. The insurance company breached section 5-1(e) of GDPR (“personal data shall be… kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary”) when it kept the personal data of 1917 prospects who had not had contact with the company for more than three years, 1405 of which for over five years. The Data Protection Report posted about the decision.

The video-sharing social media platform TikTok is under investigation by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) over its processing of children’s data and the transferring of personal data to non-EU countries, like China. TikTok claims that it uses “approved methods” for international data transfer, but complications arise from there being no EU data adequacy agreement with China, where the app’s parent company is based. TikTok relies on Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs), but since the CJEU’s landmark Schrems II ruling last year, there is considerable uncertainty around data transfer agreements that rely on SCCs. TikTok is already facing a legal challenge from the former Children’s Commissioner for England over its collection and processing of children’s data.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The National Union of Journalists has called for a panel of international experts to be convened to investigate the unsolved murder of Sunday World journalist Martin O’Hagan 20 years on. The Press Gazette has more information here.

IPSO has published a number of rulings and resolutions statement since our last Round Up:

New Issued Cases

There were 2 new cases issued in the Media and Communications List between 20 and 27 September 2021: both were defamation cases.

Recent Court Decisions

In the case of GTflix Tv v DR the European Court of Justice (CJEU) is reassessing jurisdiction in respect of defamatory online content.  In his opinion dated 16 September 2021 Advocate General Hogan considers the “mosaic” principle and the  Bolagsupplysningen case.  He is unpersuaded that the post-Shevill case law should be reversed but suggests that, in addition, a “focalisation” principle should apply, using the context of the statement in question to determine which Member State’s jurisdiction is the most appropriate. For analysis of how the focalisation criterion raises issues for online content published in English, see Karyn Harty, Audrey Byrne and Lesley Caplin’s piece for McCann FitzGerald here.

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


The Taliban have announced that all journalists will have to comply with the new “11 Journalism Rules” (the “Rules”). The Rules remove the requirement to comply with international norms like Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that was incorporated in Afghanistan’s previous media law. This removal has led Reporters Without Borders to the conclusion that the Rules open the door to censorship and repression.


Defence minister Peter Dutton has amended his statement of claim in his defamation suit against refugee activist Shane Bazzi to include aggravated damages. This follows recent tweets from Bazzi suggesting that the “wealthy and powerful cabinet minister” should focus on his defence portfolio, not the defamation case. Dutton is suing Bazzi over a tweet that labelled him a “rape apologist.” Bazzi’s defence denies he has defamed Dutton, but pleads that, if he did, the defences of fair comment and honest opinion should apply.



The bosses of Quantic Dream, the video game developer, have won their libel claim against French newspaper Le Monde following accusations of a toxic work environment. The terms of the judgement have not yet been made public.


Professor Wojciech Sadurski, the Challis Chair of Jurisprudence at the University of Sydney, has been acquitted of criminal defamation charges in the Polish Appeals Courts. The charges related to criticisms Sadurski made of the Polish state broadcaster TVP in 2019, linking the tone of their coverage to the politically-charged assassination of the Mayor of Gdansk. Sadurski had faced up to one year imprisonment. Two civil defamation cases remain pending.


A new Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act (FICA) is due to be passed in early October that would allow Singapore’s government to label independent media organisations “foreign agents” and impose harsh sentences for mere intent to publish content. Reporters Without Borders explain their concerns with FICA here.

United States

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeal has revived Rep. Devin Nunes’ defamation suit against reporter Ryan Lizza by finding that Lizza’s tweet with a hyperlink to the original story more than a year after it was first published amounts to republication with malice. Following New York Times v Sullivan [1964], a public figure can only be defamed if the defendant did the defaming act with “actual malice.” There is confusion among legal commentators as to why linking to the original article after the lawsuit was filed potentially amounts to a defamatory republication. Such discussions can be found here and here.

Research and Resources

New Issued Cases

There were only two new cases issued in the Media and Communications List this week, both are defamation cases.

Next Week in the Courts

We are not aware of any media and law cases listed for the first day of the legal term, next Friday

Reserved Judgments

The following reserved judgments after a public hearing are outstanding:

Abramovich v HarperCollins and Roseneft v HarperCollins, heard 28 and 29 July 2021 (Tipples J).

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).

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)

Ansari v Amini, heard 10-11 November 2020 (Julian Knowles J)

This Round Up was compiled by Colette Allen who is the host of Newscast on Dr Thomas Bennett and Professor Paul Wragg’s The Media Law Podcast (@MediaLawPodcast).