In a statement in open court read on 15 November 2021, the Home Secretary has apologised to Dr Salman Butt, editor of Islam 21C, for a press release published in 2015 that falsely accused Dr Butt of being an extremist hate preacher who legitimises terrorism, and from whose poisonous and pernicious influence students should be protected.

The Home Secretary has agreed to pay damages and legal costs. The settlement follows an appeal by the Home Secretary to the Court of Appeal ([2019] EWCA Civ 933) on fact/opinion the latter court upholding the finding at first instance ([2017] EWHC 2619 (QB)), that the words complained of were opinion. The Press Gazette reports here.

Boris Johnson’s spokesperson has denied that the Prime Minister intends to take legal action against the anti-Brexit publication, The New European, over a statement attributed to the PM about his wife, Carrie.

Internet and Social Media

Inforrm had an article on how Big Tech is changing who is in charge of our rights and freedom.

Writing on the LSE Media Blog, Bart Cammaerts, Professor of Politics and Communication at LSE, analyses how new-new social movements react against, and rely on, the contemporary information and communication society.

The ICO has published an open letter to the 5Rights Foundation in response to the charity’s research into systemic breaches of the Age Appropriate Design Code (Children’s code).

Data Privacy and Data Protection

The HawkTalk blog has an article on how the DCMS proposals to change the UKGDPR to tip the balance between controller and data subject in favour of the former weakens privacy protections afforded to the latter.

The Data Protection Report blog reports that Android will adopt an iOS-like privacy nutrition label, called the “Data safety form,” starting April 2022. According to Google, apps that fail to comply with this upcoming requirement may be “subject to policy enforcement, like blocked updates or removal from Google Play.”

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

Inforrm had an article on IPSO’s delayed response to the appeal for urgent action to address the collapse in journalistic standards at the Jewish Chronicle.


New Issued Cases

Three defamation (libel and slander) claims were filed on the Media and Communications list last week, and one injunction. Two applications for Norwich Pharmacal orders were made.

Last Week in the Courts

On 15 November 2021 Nicklin J conducted a CMC in the case of CPH v ARN, a defamation claim brought by two children.

On 15 November 2021 judgment in Mueen-Udin v Secretary of State for the Home Department was handed down by Nicol J.

On 15-19 November 2021, the First Tier Tribunal heard submissions in a freedom of information request for the release of Lord and Lady Mountbatten’s papers. The historian Andrew Lownie is seeking the release of the Mountbattens’ diaries and correspondence archived at Southampton University. Lord David Owen, the former foreign secretary who has left his own archive of papers to Liverpool University, told the Guardian that the legal proceedings have been a “grotesque abuse of public money.”

The claim for libel and application to exclude the time limit for actions for defamation under s.32A Limitation Act 1980 were dismissed in Veneisha Johnson v Shooters Hill Sixth Form College [2021] EWHC 3052 (QB).

The Claimant succeeded in her libel claim in Terri Ann Davies v Gavin Paul Carter [2021] EWHC 3021 (QB). The truth defence failed. The harassment claim was also successful. The publications amount to repeated vilification and unwarranted demands for money. Moreover, these demands were made in circumstances in which the defendant had never sought compensation through normal channels . This conduct has continued for 3 years and caused the claimant to experience psychological distress and stigma, impacting upon her Article 8 rights. The claimant was forced to remove her presence from the internet, itself an infringement of her Article 10 rights and particularly problematic for her as a senior professional in marketing and communications. Balancing such a finding of liability with the defendant’s Article 10 rights, the court held that interference is justified and proportionate given these circumstances. Failure by the defendant to prove a defence of truth underlines that conclusion [90].

Emma Louise Johnson v Eastlight Community Homes Ltd [2021] EWHC 3069 (QB) has not been entirely struck out but instead redirected to the County Court as a more appropriate forum. The claim is for Misuse of Private Information, Breach of Confidence, Negligence and breach of Article 8 rights, as well as damages under Article 82 GDPR. The claim arises from an email wrongly sent to a third party, then deleted. DLA Piper provides analysis here.  There was a 5RB case comment.


The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology will hold a webinar on 1 December 2021 to help organizations use regulatory crosswalks in implementing its Privacy Framework.

Mishcon de Reya is hosting a discussion on what recent FATCA cases mean for individual’s data privacy rights. More information here.

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


Terrance Flowers, a man who was incorrectly identified by the Seven Network as allegedly being involved in the abduction of Cleo Smith, has launched defamation proceedings against the news organisation.

Listen to DLA Piper’s TechLaw Australia podcast on the shifting landscape of privacy and data governance in the Asia Pacific region here.


Québec has reformed its privacy legislation with the introduction of Bill 64. The new framework for processing personal information hinges on three main axes: (i) increased obligations for enterprises that collect or otherwise process personal information; (ii) the creation of new rights for persons whose information is collected, and; (iii) the imposition of far more stringent sanctions for failing to comply with the law. The Data Protection Report has more information here.

The Canadian Privacy Law Blog has an article that lists the ten ways Canada’s proposed changes to the Consumer Privacy Protection Act will impact privacy cases.


The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Diko MP Zaharias Koulias against a lower court decision to award a former minister €25,000 in damages for defamation.

United States

Alex Jones has been found guilty by default in all four defamation cases brought by the families of victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy.

In an open letter from Facebook to the LAPD, the company has demanded that the police department stops using its platform for fake accounts and collecting data on users for surveillance.

New York has joined Connecticut and Delaware to become the third state to require private employers to provide employees with notice of employer monitoring of phone, email and internet access/usage. The Data Protection Report has more information here. The Privacy and Information Law Blog has more information here.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has announced a bilateral cybersecurity partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Finance “to protect critical financial infrastructure and emerging technologies” and combat the use of ransomware. The Privacy and Information Law Blog has more information here.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts 

On 22 to 24 November 2021 Collins Rice J will hear the trial in the libel case of Hwang v Kim.

On 24 November 2021, Nicklin J will hear an application in the case of Banks v Cadwalladr.

On the same day Tipples J will hand down judgment in the cases of Rosneft Oil Company v HarperCollins and Abramovich v HarperCollins (heard 28 and 29 July 2021).

On the same day the same judge will hear the trial in the data protection case of Amersi v CMEC UK Ltd.

Reserved Judgments

Associated Newspapers Limited v Duchess of Sussex, heard 9-11 November 2021 (The Master of the Rolls, The President of the Queen’s Bench Division and Bean LJ)

GUH v KYT, heard on 28 October 2021 (Collins Rice J)

Soriano v Forensic News, heard 6 and 7 October 2021 (Sharp P, Elisabeth Laing and Warby LJ)

Qatar Airways Group Q.S.C.S v Middle East News UK Limited and others heard on 4 October 2021 (Saini 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) 

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)

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).