The Metropolitan Police made fifty-two arrests during the coronation of King Charles III on Saturday 6 May 2023. In a press release, the Met stated that the arrests were for affray, public order offenses, breach of the peace and conspiracy to cause a public nuisance.
The force claimed its duty to prevent disruption outweighed the right to protest but faces growing scrutiny over its attitude toward anti-monarchy demonstrators. Reuters, The Guardian, Sky News, CNN, The Washington Post and BBC cover the protests.
On 10 May 2023, the Managing Judge, Fancourt J, will begin hearing the trial of four claims in the case of Various Claimants v MGN including the claim brought by the Duke of Sussex. The trial is listed to last for 7 weeks..
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has released its World Press Freedom Index 2023, finding the “fake content industry” has increased “volatility” in its worldwide rankings for 2023. Overall, the 21st edition of the index puts the environment for journalism as “bad in seven out of ten countries, and satisfactory in only three out of ten.” The Press Gazette summary can be read here.
On 3 May 2023, HHJ Sarah Munro KC lifted an order made under s45 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999, which had prevented the media from identifying the defendant Marques Walker in the case of the murder of 14-year-old Jermaine Cools in 2021. Cools was the youngest victim of knife crime in London in 2021. Munro held the factors in favour of lifting the restriction included the serious nature and increasing prevalence of knife crime, the need for deterrence, and the promotion of public confidence that the criminal justice system is addressing the issue of knife crime and knife-related homicides. 5RB, The Times and the Evening Standard have move information.
Internet and Social Media
The long-anticipated Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill has begun its parliamentary journey following its introduction on 25 April 2023. The Bill ushers in a new regime for digital markets, and has the potential to be a “watershed moment“ in how UK digital markets are regulated. The RPC Blog summarises the main aspects of the new regime and the DMU’s extensive enforcement powers.
Data privacy and data protection
The HawkTalk blog provides a summary of seven areas where the proposed Data Protection and Digital Information No. 2 Bill undermines privacy issues, with the recommendation that these be debated by Parliament.
The Brett Wilson Blog has published an article analysing what it claims are the two distinct areas where the information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is neglecting its duty to properly investigate complaints: firstly, against search engines and secondly against the press. They also raise concerns about its lack of transparency and accountability.
The Panopticon blog has published an article that analyses a number of judgments relating to compensation for alleged data protection infringements handed down in the last two years. The article demonstrates the overall judicial scepticism towards such claims, with a number of judges being particularly sceptical as to whether, on the facts, any claim made out would pass the threshold of seriousness for entitlement to compensation. Others, however, argue that compensation claims under UK GDPR/GDPR are not subject to any such threshold. The article tries to navigate its way to an answer.
Apple and Google have entered a partnership to create a “proposed industry specification” to fight unwanted Bluetooth location device tracking. The new proposal “will allow Bluetooth location-tracking devices to be compatible with unauthorized tracking detection and alerts across iOS and Android platforms.” The draft specification is intended to serve as a standard for companies to build such capabilities into their products. The press release can be read here.
Art, Music and Copyright
Rebekah Vardy, wife of football player Jamie Vardy and unsuccessful claimant in last year’s Vardy v Rooney  EWHC 2017 (QB) libel trial, has secured trademark registration of WAGATHA CHRISTIE for a wide range of goods and services. IPKat considers how this reveals a dystopian vision of the trademark world, composed of words, images and objects, “floating about but not directly connected to the goods, and therefore fair game to be monopolised as a trade mark right.”
- 11788-22 Gregson and Weiss v The Jewish Chronicle, 1 Accuracy (2021), 2 Privacy (2021), 4 Intrusion into grief or shock (2021), Breach – sanction: publication of adjudication
Statements in open court and apologies
There were no statements or apologies read in open court last week.
New Issued Cases
There were two new cases issued in in the media and communications list last week, both defamation cases, neither against a media organisation.
Last week in the courts
On 2 to 5 May 2023, Nicklin J continued to hear the trial in the case of MBR Acres Ltd v Free MBR Beagles.
On the same day Saini J began hearing the trial in the case of Packham CBE v Wightman and others. The well-known naturalist, author and television presenter Chris Packham CBE has brought a claim in respect of various allegations of dishonesty made against him in Country Squire Magazine and on social media, including that he has defrauded the public when raising money for the care of ex-circus tigers. There was a case preview on the Doughty Street Chambers website and a piece in the Guardian. The trial continued all week.
On 2 May 2023 Collins Rice J heard a case management hearing in the case of Nagi v Santhiramoulesan.
Media law in other jurisdictions
New South Wales senator Mehreen Faruqi is launching a federal court action against Pauline Hanson under the Racial Discrimination Act, after the One Nation founder told the Greens senator to “piss off back to Pakistan” in a clash on social media. Faruqi wants Hanson to make a $150,000 donation to charity and to publish a new tweet saying she had used offensive language. Faruqi chose to escalate legal action over the tweet after a complaint through the Human Rights Commission was terminated. The Guardian has more information here.
The ABC has abandoned its truth defence in a defamation case brought against it by former Australian special forces soldier Heston Russell over claims he was involved in shooting and killing an Afghan prisoner. The amended defence seeks to rely chiefly on the new public interest defence. The Sydney Morning Herald has more information here.
On 3 May 2023, Google and Meta announced they would withdraw access to news articles in Canada if legislation compelling internet companies to pay news publishers is passed, Reuters reports. Canada’s proposed legislation would force platforms like Google parent Alphabet Inc and Meta to negotiate commercial deals and pay Canadian news publishers for their content, part of a broader global trend to make tech firms pay for news.
The Fei Chang Dao blog has published an article setting out examples of the People’s Republic of China government’s regulation of online public sentiment.
The digital innovation laboratory, LINC, of France’s data protection authority, the Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés, has published a series of articles focused on the technical and legal risks associated with generative AI.
The Irish Government has declined to confirm whether or not State agencies routinely use spyware to monitor Irish citizens, following an inquiry from the European Commission. In December 2022, the Commission wrote to all EU member states seeking to clarify the extent to which such software is in use by Governments across the bloc. The Irish Examiner has more information here.
Italy’s data protection authority, the Garante, removed its limited block of OpenAI’s ChatGPT after the company rectified alleged data protection issues, TechCrunch reports. The regulator ordered limits on the chatbot’s data collection and gave OpenAI a compliance deadline over EU General Data Protection Regulation allegations concerning legal bases for processing data and children’s data protection.
A Pakistani court on Friday turned down the request of former prime minister Imran Khan to dismiss a Rs 10 billion defamation claim filed against him by prime minister Shehbaz Sharif. Sharif in 2017 filed the defamation suit against Khan after Khan accused him of offering the latter Rs 10 bn through a common friend in exchange for withdrawing the Panama Papers case from the Supreme Court. The Times of India has more information here.
Speaking at the RSF and the Foreign Press Association for the launch of the 2023 World Press Freedom Index, the defence and diplomatic editor of The Independent expressed her belief that prisoner exchange is the “only route out” of jail for detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich. Kim Sengupta said he thought the Russian government is otherwise unlikely to release Gershkovich, who was arrested on a reporting trip in March under charges of espionage. The Press Gazette has more information here.
The EARN IT Act has returned to the Senate and House, which has prompted a response from Riana Pfefferkorn reminding Congress of the problems the proposed legislation causes for encryption, privacy and online speech, without guaranteeing improvement to children’s safety online. The Centre for Internet and Society hosts the open letter to congress here.
Amazon has a new low-price health service called Amazon Clinic, where for as little as $30, patient-customers can consult with a clinician online from an Amazon partner, who can issue prescriptions. The Washington Post has an article that explores the hidden privacy cost to the Clinic. The piece argues Big Tech companies get away with invading your intimate business — and the law offers insufficient protection.
Research and Resources
- Volini, Anthony, The Right to Data Privacy: Revisiting Warren & Brandeis (2023), Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property, (Fall 2023)
- Young, Hilary, Permanent Injunctions in Defamation Actions (2023), University of New Brunswick – Fredericton – Faculty of Law
- McKechnie, Douglas B., Defaming the President (2023), Mitchell Hamline Law Review, Volume 49(2)
- Ries, Brett V., Don’t Be A Drag: How Drag Bans Can Violate the First Amendment (2023), unknown
- Nettesheim, Martin, Data Protection in Contractual Relationships (Art. 6 (1) (b) GDPR) (2023), University of Tübingen Law School
- Leiser, Dr Mark and Keese, Nina, Freedom of Thought in the Digital Age: Online Manipulation and Article 9 ECHR (2023), ALTI/VU-Amsterdam
- Leiser, Dr Mark and Santos, Dr Cristiana, Dark Patterns, Enforcement, and the emerging Digital Design Acquis: Manipulation beneath the Interface (2023), ALTI/VU-Amsterdam
Next week in the courts
On 9 May 2023, Nicklin J will continue to hear the trial in the case of MBR Acres Ltd v Free MBR Beagles and Saini J will continue to hear the trial in Packham CBE v Wightman and ors.
A Statement in Open Court will be read on 9 May 2023 in the case of Embery v Grady before HHJ Lewis.
As already mentioned, on 10 May 2023, a 7 week trial in the case of Various Claimants v MGN will begin before Fancourt J.
On 11 May 2023, Farbey J will hear an application in the data protection case of Bennett v Equifax. On the same day, HHJ Lewis will hear an application in the defamation case of Khokan v Hossain,
On 12 May 2023 there will be a hearing before HHJ Lewis in the defamation case of Lowther v Persons Unknown calling him/herself or themselves “the Walter Mitty Hunters Club HQ”
Grant v NGN and Duke of Sussex NGN heard on 25-27 April 2023 (Fancourt J)
Mehmood v Up and Coming TV Limited, heard 26-28 April 2023 (Heather Williams J)
Various Claimants v Associated Newspapers, heard 27 to 30 March 2023 (Nicklin J)
Prismall v (1) Google (2) Deep Mind, heard 21 and 22 March 2023 (Heather Williams J)
Crosbie v Ley, heard 21 and 22 March 2023 (Julian Knowles J)
Duke of Sussex v Associated Newspapers Limited, heard 17 March 2023 (Nicklin J)
Amersi v Leslie, heard 10 January 2023 (Nicklin J)
Aaronson v Stones, heard 12-15 December 2022 (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).
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