This is the final round up before Christmas: normal service will resume in the new year. Please send us any items for inclusion in the next round up to email@example.com.
Twenty-two claimants in the News of the World phone hacking litigation have accepted damages in settlement of their cases. Other cases are likely to settle by January, with a “substantial” number of claims going forward, as the BBC reports here. In October 2012 it was reported that there were 167 claims on the register.
The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) published its Report on the Defamation Bill, ahead of the Bill’s Committee stage in the House of Lords on 17 December (see ‘Parliament’ section below). The NUJ has indicated its support for the report here. Out-Law.com reports here. The House of Lords Constitution select committee has published its own report on the bill here, which the Drum reports here. In an email update, the Libel Reform campaign said it welcomed the Government’s proposed amendment to strengthen the Clause 4 Public Interest Defence, ahead of the Lords committee stage.
James Harding resigned as editor of the Times, announcing that it had been “made clear” to him “that News Corporation would like to appoint a new editor of The Times“.
Sally Bercow is to be represented by Carter Ruck in a libel claim brought by Lord McAlpine, the Lawyer reports.
It is reported that Guantanamo inmate Shaker Aamer is to sue the British Government for defamation on the basis that US interrogators were supplied with “knowingly false information” by the UK security services, including the allegation that Mr Aamer was paid directly by Bin Laden and that he also recruited people to fight for al-Qaeda in Afghanistan
Naomi Campbell is to pursue a libel claim against the Daily Telegraph, concerning an article about her involvement in an elephant polo tournament in India. Vogue.com reports here.
The latest on MPs’ concerns about the Communication Data Bill here.
The Committee to Protect Journalists’ annual census of press fatalities will be released on December 18 2012.
In Northern Ireland, a pipe bomb was left outside the home of photojournalist, Mark Pearce in Newry, Northern Ireland. The NUJ has condemned the “attempt to intimidate journalists” here.
Lord Justice Leveson’s second public lecture in Australia addressed the challenges for “news-gathering in a time of change” at the Centre for Advanced Journalism at the University of Melbourne. The text is available here.
The Telegraph has claimed that Maria Miller’s special advisor warned a journalist off a story about her expenses, by reminding her of the culture minister’s involvement in Leveson discussions. Channel 4 News reports here.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
Please let us know if there is anything to report in this section: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Journalism and regulation
There have been no adjudicated PCC cases since 28 November 2012. This week’s resolved cases include:
- Dolan-Powers v The Observer, Clause 1, 14/12/2012
- Weston Area Health NHS Trust v Weston, Worle & Somerset Mercury, Clause 1, 10/12/2012
Lord Hunt, chair of the PCC, has appointed Lord Chris Smith (former Labour culture secretary), Simon Jenkins (former editor of the Times) and Lord Phillips (former president of the supreme court) as unpaid special advisers to help set up a new press regulator.
The shootings at an elementary school in Connecticut have prompted renewed discussion about social media verification. See Jeff Jarvis here; Mathew Ingram here. On a related theme, the online news network Storyful also hosted a Google hangout on verification issues during Hurricane Sandy, which can be watched here.
BBC Panorama is expected to air its delayed programme about the owners of the Daily Telegraph, Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, reports the Guardian.
Via HoldtheFrontPage: Two journalists from the Bedfordshire on Sunday newspaper successfully challenged a section 39 order protecting the identity of a 17 year old who held two police officers at gunpoint.
Research & resources
- Charlie Beckett, POLIS blog, Can journalism count as an academic research output?
- Julian Milford, Panopticon blog, Universities and requests for lecturers’ private research: when will it be “held” by the University?
- Launch of Westlaw UK Insight, online encyclopaedia of law
- Professor Stewart Purvis’ round up of the Newsnight sagas
In the Courts
On 11 December 2012 judgment was handed down in the privacy case Price v Powell & Ors  EWHC 3527 (QB). In what Tugendhat J called “a lamentable renewal of civil litigation between the two of them which has been a feature of their relationship since their divorce“, Katie Price is seeking damages for misuse of private information and disclosure orders against her former manager, Claire Powell, ex-husband Peter Andre and estranged friend, Jamelah Asmar.The judge dismissed the application by the fourth defendant to strike out the claim as an abuse of process.
On 12 December 2012, the Court of Appeal (Arden and Lloyd-Jones LJJ and Tugendhat J) handed down judgment in Cammish v Hughes ( EWCA Civ 1655). The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and directed the summary dismissal of proceedings. It agreed with an earlier decision on meaning and level of seriousness, but considered that the proceedings had “in fact now served their purpose and should be brought to an end on terms as to costs“. The appellant was ordered to pay costs to the point at which he served his defence to the claim.
On the same day there was the application for permission to appeal and stay of costs in the Court of Appeal in WXY v Gewanter & ors was refused.
On 12 and 13 December 2012, the appeal in Rothschild v Associated Newspapers was heard by the Court of Appeal (Laws, McCombe LJJ and Eady J). Judgment was reserved.
17 December 2012, 7pm, (postponed), Lessons from the BBC crisis: Creativity and editorial control in global news organisations, organised by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Frontline Club, London.
16 January 2013, all day, Community Journalism Conference – Enabling and Empowering Communities, Cardiff University, Bute Building, Cardiff.
5 April 2013, Polis Journalism Conference, LSE, London.
Know of any media law events happening in early 2013? Please let Inforrm know: email@example.com.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
Australia. It is reported that the well known paparazzo, Darryn Lyons, is suing in Australia for defamation. A writ filed in the Victorian Supreme Court on Wednesday says Lyons had been “gravely injured in his credit and reputation” by the publication of the articles in the Herald Sun and Geelong Advertiser on 8 September 2012.
Austria: A student group Europe v Facebook is to pursue a civil data protection case against Facebook, via Pogowasright.
Cameroon: The Committee to Protect Journalists has raised concerns over reports that a state prosecutor in Bamenda “has threatened to file defamation charges against an editor if he does not reveal his sources for a series of articles“.
France: The French President, François Hollande, has been accused of interfering in defamation proceedings brought by his partner, Valérie Trierweiler, against against two unofficial biographers. He wrote a letter to the Court supporting her case.
Ireland: The High Court has granted orders to an Irish-based oil exploration company allowing it to seek the identity of people who allegedly posted defamatory material on internet message boards.
Northern Ireland: A High Court jury has found that Sinn Fein defamed Declan Gormley, a former director of NI Water in respect of two press releases it issued in support of his sacking from the board. The jury found that statements were defamatory and that the defendants were guilty of malice. Mr Justice Gillen then rejected a final defence of qualified journalism, ruling that no steps had been taken to try to verify the contents of the press releases before publishing them.
Russia: A former police officer has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for his part in the murder of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
Next week in the courts
On Monday 17 December 2012 there will be a hearing in the “phone hacking” case of Field v News Group Newspapers Ltd & anr. Vos J will consider the defendant’s attempt to strike out the claim on the basis that no phone interception took place.
On the same day the Court of Appeal (Laws, Tomlinson and McCombe LJJ) will hear the appeal in the case of Waterson v Lloyd.
Next week in Parliament
Monday 17 December 2012, 3.30pm, Legislation – Defamation Bill – Committee stage – Lord McNally. Grand Committee, House of Lords.
Tuesday 18 December 2012, 11.30am, Legislation – Justice and Security Bill [HL] – Second reading.
Tuesday 18 December 2012, 1.30pm, House of Lords Communications select committee. Subject: Media Convergence. Witness(es): (at 1.45pm) Mr Andrew Heaney, Executive Director of Strategy and Regulation, TalkTalk; and (at 2.30pm) Mr Andrew Harrison, CEO, RadioCentre. Location: Committee Room 2, Palace of Westminster
Tuesday 18 December 2012, 2.30pm, House of Commons Foreign Affairs select committee. Subject: BBC World Service Annual Review 2011/12. Witness(es): Peter Horrocks, Director, BBC Global News. Location: Room 15, Palace of Westminster.
Tuesday 18 December 2012, 2.30pm, Legislation – Crime and Courts Bill [HL] – Third reading – Lord Taylor of Holbeach. Debate – Report from Lord Justice Leveson on the culture, practices and ethics of the media – Viscount Younger of Leckie.Location: Main Chamber, House of Lords.
Wednesday 19 December 2012, 12pm, Legislation – Defamation Bill – Committee stage (Day 2) – Lord McNally. Grand Committee, House of Lords.
The House of Commons will be in recess from Friday 21 December 2012. The House will next sit on Monday 07 January 2013. The House of Lords will be in recess from Friday 21 December 2012. The House will next sit on Tuesday 08 January 2013.
The following reserved judgments after public hearings remain outstanding:
- Miller v Associated Newspapers heard 21 to 25 May 2012 (Sharp J)
- Iqbal v Mansoor, heard 31 October 2012 (Rix, Etherton and Lewison LJJ)
- Tamiz v Google, heard 3 and 4 December 2012 (Master of the Rolls, Richards and Sullivan LJJ)
- Citation PLC -v- Ellis Whittam Limited, heard 5 December 2012 (Laws, Arden and Tomlinson LJJ)
- Rothschild v Associated Newspapers heard 12 and 13 December 2012 (Laws, McCombe LJJ and Eady J)
Also on Inforrm last week
- South Africa, Review of the Year: Media in a contest for freedom – Dario Milo and Pamela Stein
- CFAs in Media Cases: reasons to be cheerful? – Steven Heffer
- It must be the pantomime season – Brian Cathcart
- Clause 5 Still Needs Work: Joint Committee on Human Rights delivers its verdict on the Defamation Bill – Ashley Hurst
- Journalisted, week ending Sunday 9 December 2012, Autumn statement, Starbucks tax and Nelson Mandela
- Media Reform Coalition: Briefing Paper on Media Plurality
- Scotland: Panel Appointed to consider Leveson Recommendations
- Media Standards Trust: Response to the Leveson Report
- Law of Libel and the Defamation Bill – Gavin Phillipson
- Was the hoax call really an offence under the Data Protection Act? – Dan Tench
- Case Comment: R (Press Association) v Cambridge Crown Court – Anonymity and sexual offences – Edward Craven
- Leveson: Ofcom, Royal Charters and Judicial Recognisers. Or how about Sir Brian?
- Mengi v Hermitage and Access to Justice in Libel Cases – Andrew Stephenson
This week’s Round Up was compiled for Inforrm by Judith Townend, a freelance journalist and PhD researcher examining legal restraints on the media, who runs the Meeja Law blog. She is @jtownend on Twitter. Please send suggestions, tips and event listings for inclusion in future round ups to firstname.lastname@example.org.