Huw Edwards has been named as the BBC presenter accused of paying a teenager for sexually explicit photographs. Edwards was named by his wife in her statement that he was being treated in hospital for his mental health. The Metropolitan Police and South Wales Police found no information to indicate criminal offences had been committed.
The Sun, the publisher that broke the story, said in a statement on 12 July 2023 that at no point in its original front-page story did it allege criminality had occurred. The Sun is facing criticism for its handling of the story, in particular its failure to publish the young person’s denial. Inforrm posted commentary on the story here and here. Hacked Off’s commentary can be read here, here and here. The BBC, Guardian, Mirror, Sky News and The Independent provide summaries of the story’s development. The Guardian explores the strength of any legal claim Edwards could make against The Sun.
Footballer Dele Alli has explained he felt compelled to speak about the childhood trauma he suffered because he was being pursued by tabloid newspapers. Alli explained in an interview with ex-player and pundit Gary Neville that he was not ready to talk about what he had been through, but that he was doing so now because he wanted to speak about his experiences on his own terms. Hacked Off called the tabloid pressure “appalling.”
Internet and Social Media
Google launched its generative artificial intelligence platform Bard in the EU after a delay in June 2023 over compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation, Euractiv reports.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) published its data protection compliance lessons that businesses can learn from through the office’s Q1 2023 enforcement work. The ICO lamented the importance of fully developed privacy notices, employee training for data handling, timely responses to data subject requests, and a focus on privacy by design and by default.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed a new privacy metric called “Probably Approximately Correct Privacy.” PAC Privacy is a technique by which a “user (could) potentially add the smallest amount of noise possible” to a machine-learning algorithm to ensure it is as precise as possible, “while still ensuring the sensitive data are protected.” The PAC framework is intended to “automatically determine the minimal amount of noise that needs to be added” to a data set, MIT News reports.
The president of encrypted chat service Signal Meredith Whittaker has doubled down on her criticism of proposed Online Safety Bill. Whittaker called the government’s plan to require a special back door to access encrypted messages “mathematically impossible” and vowing to exit the UK market if it becomes law. Fortune has more information here.
- 12126-22 Nash, Waugh and The Lighthouse Group v The Daily Mail, 1 Accuracy (2023), 2 Privacy (2021), No breach – after investigation
- 09772-23 Peet v Sunday People, 1 Accuracy (2021), Breach – sanction: publication of correction
- 14431-23 Resolution Statement Booley v thesun.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2021), 2 Privacy (2021), 10 Clandestine devices and subterfuge (2021), Resolved – IPSO mediation
- 16942-23 Hood v dailyrecord.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2021), No breach – after investigation
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
A man from Warwickshire has apologised and agreed to pay £1,000 to a charity after he defamed BBC presenter Jeremy Vine on Twitter. Andy Plumb wrongly claimed on Twitter that Mr Vine was the unnamed BBC presenter who had paid a teenager thousands of pounds in exchange for sexual pictures. As mentioned above, the presenter has now been named as Huw Edwards, but a number of other presenters were defamed on social media before Edwards was named, including Mr Vine. Warwickshire World has more information here.
New Issued Cases
There were no new cases issued in the media and communications list last week.
Last Week in the Courts
On 10 and 11 July 2023, Nicklin J concluded the preliminary issues trial in the case of Harcombe v Associated Newspapers. Judgment was reserved.
On 11 July 2023, the Court of Appeal heard an appeal over undertakings in the harassment case of Smith v Backhouse. The hearing is available on YouTube. 5RB provides a summary of the issues before the Court. Judgment was reserved.
On 11 July 2023 there was a hearing in the Haverfordwest District Registry case of Gammon v Riley.
On 12 July 2023 there were hearings in the cases of Food Hub Limited v Persons unknown owning or controlling the Youtube account entitled ‘Fraudhub’ and Kassai v Tabarra.
On 13 July 2023 there was a hearing in the harassment case of McGee v Lewis before Collins Rice J. Judgment was reserved.
On 14 July 2023 there was a hearing in the case of Ibrahim v Kennedy.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
The ABC has reversed a decision to drop its public interest defence of a defamation suit brought by former commando Heston Russell, during a day of legal argument labelled “farcical” by a federal court judge. The about-turn comes two days after the ABC initially abandoned its public interest defence when ordered to reveal a confidential source. The Guardian has more information here.
Ben Roberts-Smith has launched an appeal after he lost his war crimes defamation trial in the federal court. The Guardian has more information here.
The Social Media Law Bulletin and Michael Geist blogs provide updates on Bill C-18 (Online News Act), which recently received royal assent and is expected to come into force by the end of 2023. The legislation’s stated aim is to regulate digital media platforms, such as social media sites or search engines, by promoting voluntary commercial agreements between the platform and news outlets. These agreements would provide compensation to news outlets when their content is made available on the platform. Under the bill, content is made available when it is reproduced or when access to the content is facilitated by any means.
On 10 July 2023, the European Commission adopted its long-awaited adequacy decision for the EU-US Data Privacy Framework (DPF). The DPF replaces the Privacy Shield Framework which was invalidated by the Schrems II decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union in July 2020. Effective immediately, the new adequacy decision allows personal data to flow from the European Economic Area to DPF-certified US companies without the need for additional data protection safeguards. DLA Piper and Cross-Border Data Forum have more information. In a statement, US President Biden said he welcomed the adequacy decision, noting it reflects the US and EU’s “joint commitment to strong data privacy protections and will create greater economic opportunities for our countries and companies on both sides of the Atlantic.”
On 12 July 2023, a Lebanese court sentenced prominent Lebanese journalist Dima Sadek to one year in prison following a lawsuit by the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement party (FPM) Gebran Bassil. Lebanese newspaper L’Orient Today and Middle East Eye have more information.
Slovenia’s government has pulled health care reform legislation after receiving pushback regarding perceived data protection concerns, Euractiv reports.
The controversial social media personality Andrew Tate and his brother are suing a Florida woman for defamation, saying she falsely accused them of imprisoning her in Romania, leading to their arrest there on human trafficking charges. The Guardian and Rolling Stone have more information.
Research and Resources
- Kuczerawy, Aleksandra, Social Media Councils under the DSA: A Path to Individual Error Correction at Scale? (2023) Kettemann, Matthias C.; Francke, Josefa; Dinar, Christina; Hinrichs, Lena (eds.) (2023), Platform://Democracy – Perspectives on Platform Power, Public Values and the Potential of Social Media Councils: Research Report Europe. Hamburg: Verlag Hans-Bredow-Institute
- Jevglevskaja, Natalia and Buckley, Ross P., A World-Leading Sanitation System for Our Digital Economy: The Consumer Data Right (2023), UNSW Law Research Paper No. 23-6, Forthcoming (2023) Australian Business Law Review
- Makam, Ganesh, Embracing Collective Ingenuity: Advocating for Public Domain Status of AI-Generated Intellectual Property (2023), O. P. Jindal Global University, Jindal Global Law School (JGLS)
- Vander Maelen, Carl, GDPR Codes of Conduct and the Impact on Global Business: A Case Study of Amazon Web Services (J2023) Ghent University – Faculty of Law
Next Week in the Courts
On Monday 17 July 2023 Nicklin J, sitting at the Port Talbot Justice Centre, will hear the case of Corey Lee Styles v South Wales Police.
On the same day Collins Rice J will hand down judgment in the cases of Zia Chishti v The Telegraph Media Group and McGee v Lewis.
On Tuesday 18 July 2023 there will be a hearing in the case of Coopers Fire Limited v Mcloughlin.
On Tuesday 18 July to Friday 21 July 2023 there will be a hearing in the case of Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn -v- Juan Carlos.
On Wednesday 19 July to Thursday 27 July 2023 there will be a trial in the case of Ijaz -v- Manan.
On Thursday 20 July 2023 there will be a statement in open court in the case of Vine -v- Belfield.
On Friday 21 July 2023 there will a hearing in the case of Iqbal -v- Geo TV Limited.
Harcombe v Associated Newspapers, heard 3 to 7 and 10 to 11 July 2023 (Nicklin J)
Smith v Backhouse, heard on 11 July 2023 (Asplin, Arnold and Warby LJJ)
Dyson v Channel 4, heard on 27 June 2023 (Dingemans, Birss and Warby LJJ)
Clarke v Rose, heard on 19 and 20 June 2023 (Steyn J)
YSL v Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, heard 14-15 June 2023 (Julian Knowles J)
Wright v McCormack, heard 15 June 2023 (Singh, Andrews and Warby LJJ)
LCG v OVD, heard 25-26 May, 5-8 June 2023 (Collins Rice J)
Ghenavat v Lyons, heard 25 to 26 May 2023 (HHJ Lewis)
Various Claimants v Associated Newspapers, heard 27 to 30 March 2023 (Nicklin 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)
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).