Law and Media Round Up – 24 June 2013

24 06 2013

New Round UpDirector of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keir Starmer has issued final guidelines to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on prosecutions involving social media communications, as Out-Law.com reports here. According to the DPP, “the three month consultation period has shown that the interim guidelines, published in December 2012, were in the right place“.

Not everyone was happy with the new guidelines.  The Obscenity Lawyer blog expressed serious concerns about the lack of clarity about the words “indecent” and “obscene” and about the prosecution of private fantasy one-to-one text chat.

A Guardian exclusive report alleges that an undercover police officer co-authored the famous “McLibel” leaflet in the late 1980s, which led to the longest running civil trial in English history.

The CPS has released statements on new charging decisions in Operation Elveden on 18 June and 21 June announcing decisions to charge Sun journalist Nick Parker, prison officer Lee Brockhouse and Jamie Pyatt, a journalist at The Sun newspaper, John Edwards, Pictures Editor at The Sun newspaper, and Robert Neave, a former healthcare assistant at Broadmoor Hospital.

The editor of the Financial Times Lionel Barber used his appearance in front of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee to call for the intervention of Lord Grade in press regulation talks as a “mediator”. The campaign group Hacked Off said it disagreed with his suggestion, with a number of victims of press abuse calling for “no more compromise”.

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

The publishers of the Daily Mail have agreed to pay damages of £125,000 to the “psychic to the stars”, Sally Morgan, in respect of an article which alleged that she had cheated an audience in Dublin by using an earpiece. The trial of the action had been due to commence on 10 June 2013 but a settlement was announced in a Statement in Open Court [pdf] read to Mr Justice Tugendhat on 20 June 2013, as reported by Inforrm here.

Journalism and regulation

There are some new editorial appointments to note: Amol Rajan is to become editor of the Independent, while Oly Duff will edit its sister freesheet, the i. Meanwhile, David Dinsmore has been announced as the Sun’s next editor.

The BBC College of Journalism has published the BBC’s News Style guide here.

There have been no new PCC adjudications, but several resolutions: Wonga v The Mail on Sunday, Clause 1, 21/06/2013; Richard Crooks v Daily Mail, Clause 1, 20/06/2013; Mr Joe O’Brien v The Sun, Clause 1, 20/06/2013; Association of Chief Police Officers v The Daily Telegraph, Clause 1, 20/06/2013; Ms Kate Fawcett v The Sun, Clauses 1, 10, 18/06/2013; Mr Phillip Sherratt v The Sentinel (Staffordshire), Clause 1, 17/06/2013.

Commentary, research & resources

In the Courts

The Court of Appeal have allowed the appeal of the Sunday Times in the libel case brought former Conservative Party Treasurer, Peter Cruddas ([2013] EWCA Civ 748) against the ruling of Mr Justice Tugendhat that the published articles made an allegation of corruption contrary to the criminal law ([2013] EWHC 1427 (QB)). The Court set aside the orders striking out the defence of justification and entering judgment for the claimant. The trial will now have to proceed, as reported by Inforrm here.

On 18 June 2013, Maurice Kay LJ refused permission to appeal in the case of Makudi v Triesman.

Reporting restrictions preventing two witnesses to Dale Cregan’s killing spree in Manchester in 2012 discussing their experiences have been lifted. Holroyde J allowed an application on behalf of NGN. One Brick Court reports here.

Events

24-25 June 2013, The Constitution of the Public Sphere: the post-Leveson Landscape (W G Hart Legal Workshop 2013), Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London.

26 June 2013, 6pm, Turning the Page on Media Sexism, NUJ, London.

Until 9 July 2013, Co-operatives UK and Carnegie UK Trust events on ‘Make your local news work’, various locations, UK.

17 September 2013, IBC Legal’s Protecting the Media 2013, London.

26-27 September 2013, Jersey Law Via the Internet 2013, Radisson Blu Hotel, Jersey

8-9 April 2014, 1984: Freedom and Censorship in the Media – Where Are We Now?“, Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sunderland

Know of any media law events happening in the next few months? Please let Inforrm know: inforrmeditorial@gmail.com.

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

Ecuador: The National Assembly has approved a new Communications Law, as reported by IFEX here. The International Press Institute has raised concerns about the law and its implication for freedom of expression here.

New Zealand: In a judgment handed down on 4 June 2013, Flannagan v. Sperling [pdf] (DC Waitakere), a court has ordered a blogger to indefinitely remove more than a hundred posts and comments attacking the reputation of a lawyer, and not to write about her again, as reported by Steven Price here. He argues that the harassment case “may have opened up a cheap highway through the expensive labyrinth of defamation law“.

Niger: RSF reports that three Al Jazeera journalists and their driver have been released, two days after being arrested near Zinder for “travelling without accreditation“.

United States: The ABA Law Journal and the Tampa Bay Times reports on an ongoing dispute over costs, following a defamation case between two radio shock jocks in Florida.

The American Civil Liberties Union notesan important First Amendment decision“: the Supreme Court’s ruling that the government may not require federal grant recipients to endorse the government’s policy positions.

Next week in the courts

On Monay 24 June 2013 Mrs Justice Sharp will hear an application in the case of Tamiz v Guardian News and Media.

There are a couple of forthcoming hearings for July to record:

In McGrath v Independent Print Ltd, Chris McGrath has sued The Independent newspaper for its coverage of a previous libel case in which he was a claimant: McGrath & Anor v Dawkins & Ors. A CMC has been listed for 9 July. Press Gazette reported on the case in May.

In Kearns v Kemp (see BBC report here), a typist in Milton Keynes is being sued by Kirby Kearns, a media production company based in Qatar, for remarks she made on Twitter. On 15 March 2013 Mrs. Kemp was the subject of an “unless order” to pay £824.20 in costs. The “unless” provision was stayed by Nicol J and the Defendants were given leave to appeal by Tugendhat J. The appeal is due to be heard on 24 July.

Next week in Parliament

Tuesday 25 June, 8.55am, Third Delegated Legislation Committee. Subject: The Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 (Code of Practice) Order 2013 (S.I., 2013, No. 1128). Location: Committee Room 11, Palace of Westminster, House of Commons; 2.30pm, Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee, Subject: Draft Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 (Extension of duration of non-jury trial provisions) Order 2013. Location: Committee Room 12, Palace of Westminster, House of Commons.

Tuesday 25 June 10.30am Inquiries Act 2005. Subject: Inquiries Act 2005,
Witness(es): at 10.40am evidence will be heard from Judith Bernstein, Head of Coroners, Burials, Cremation and Inquiries Policy Team at the Ministry of Justice, and Richard Mason, Deputy Director of Civil Justice, Administrative Justice, and Coroners, Burials, Cremations & Inquiries. Ministry of Justice. Location: Committee Room 4A, Palace of Westminster

Tuesday 25 June, 2.30pm, Legislation – Offender Rehabilitation Bill [HL] – Report stage – Lord McNally, Main Chamber, House of Lords.

Tuesday 25 June, 3.15pm, Communications select committee. Subject: Media plurality
Witness(es): (at 3.30pm) evidence will be heard from Mr Chris Goodall, Enders Analysis; and Dr Jonathan Hardy, Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom and at 4.30 pm from Mr Will Hutton. Location: Committee Room 2, Palace of Westminster.

Wednesday 26 June, 2.30pm, Sixth Delegated Legislation Committee. Subject: Draft Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (Consequential Provisions) Order 2013. Location: Committee Room 12, Palace of Westminster, House of Commons.

Wednesday 26 June, 3pm – Oral Questions, Defendants choosing their own lawyer after legal aid reform – Lord Bach, Main Chamber, House of Lords.

Thursday 27 June, 9.30am: Backbench Business – (i) Legal aid reform (ii) Multinational companies and UK corporation tax, Main Chamber, House of Commons.

Thursday 27 June, 1pm: Short Debate – Northern Ireland and the Defamation Act 2013 – Lord Lexden/Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Grand Committee, House of Lords.

Judgments

The following reserved judgments after public hearings remain outstanding:

Hunt v Times Newspapers, heard 29 and 30 April, 1-3, 7-10, 13, 16 and 17 May 2013 (Simon J)

Also on Inforrm last week

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 jt.townend@gmail.com.


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One response

24 06 2013
Robert

Thanks for including me in the round-up.

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