A generally wet and a disappointing summer has perhaps been very slightly brightened up for media lawyers by a number of interesting media law decisions and stories since our first Summer Round Up on 3 August 2015.
First, there was the decision of Mrs Justice Laing on 5 August 2015 granting a privacy injunction in the case of AMC v News Group Newspapers ( EWHC 2361 (QB)). The media silly season produced an unusually high level of inaccurate reporting about this decision – which did not concern adultery (the sportsman in question was not married at the time of the affair). We had posts about the case by Kirsten Sjøvoll and Amber Melville-Brown.
Then there was the letter from to the press from Kensington Palace concerning paparazzi harassment of Prince George. The letter accused paparazzi photographers of harassing Prince George and Princess Charlotte, going to “extreme lengths” to get pictures. The media were urged not to use the images. We had a post about this issue from Amber Melville-Brown.
The biggest data privacy story of the summer concerned the hacking and release of 10 gigabytes of data from the Ashely Madion dating websites The hackers, who called themselves “The Impact Team”, claimed to have distributed personal information on 33 million accounts (most of which turned out to be men). We had posts on the issue here and here by Rhory Robertson and Clare Brown. There were also interesting posts in, among other places, on the Optanon blog, Krebson Security and Wired.
The summer saw a number of disasters and tragic incidents which were caught on film and which gave rise to debates on media reporting. Roy Greenslade had two pieces, “Were the media wrong to publish Virginia shootings video and images?“, “Why it was right to publish this picture of an execution …” and we had posts from Amber Melville-Brown about Shoreham and Virginia.
Finally, there have been reports – perhaps planted by News Corporation to “test the water” – that Rebekah Brooks is to be reappointed as Chief Executive of News UK. There was a negative reaction from a number of quarters, particularly Hacked Off and shadow culture secretary Chris Bryant.
The Guardian reports that Soviet dissident, Vladimir Bukovsky, had issued a High Court defamation claim against the CPS over a statement announcing he was being charged with child pornography.
In addition to AMC, there are a number of other Court decisions to note:
- Dawson-Damer & Ors v Taylor Wessing LLP & Ors  EWHC 2366 (Ch), dismissing a subject access request against solicitors by the beneficiaries of a trust. There is a discussion of the case on the Privacy and Data Security Law blog.
- Lin and Phyo v Commissioner of Police  EWHC 2484 (QB) – dismissing a subject access request by two individuals accused of a murder in Thailand. There is a post about the decision on the Panopticon Blog,
- Information Commissioner v Colenso-Dunne  UKUT 471 (AAC), in which the Upper Tribunal dismissed the ICO’s appeal against a decision ordering him to disclose the names of the journalists seized during Operation Motorman from Steve Whittamore. There was, again, a post on the Panopticon Blog. There was a report on the decision in the Press Gazette.
The ICO blog has a post entitled “The EU Regulation – approaching the home straight?” concerning the progress being made on the final text. The EU Council has agreed its position and the ICO has published a commentary on the text [pdf].
We draw attention to a number of items of news from other jurisdictions:
In the case of Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd v Pedavoli  NSWCA 237 the Court of Appeal in New South Wales dismissed the appeal by the Sydney Morning Herald against a damages award of $350,000 in favour of a high school teacher. We will have a case comment about this decision shortly.
In the case of Lokmeh v Harbour Radio Pty Ltd  NSWDC 172 the Court dismisssed applications to strike out the defence.
In the case of Goldhar v Haaretz.com et al., 2015 ONSC 1128 the Ontario Superior Court of Justice held that Ontario was the proper forum for a defamation against an Israeli newspaper.
The Hoot website reports an increase in the number of defamation cases brought against the media in 2015. It is said that there have been 10 cases in the first 8 months of 2015, compared to 6 in the whole of 2014.
In the case of CPA Australia Limited v New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants  NZHC 1854, Dobson J dismissed a libel action brought by one accountants professional body against another. There was a report about the decision here. We will have a case comment on this case shortly.
It is reported that Courtney Love has settled the second Twitter defamation claim brought against her by paying the sum of $350,000. Ms Love told her Twitter followers that fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir was a drug pushing, thieving prostitute with a history of assault and battery.
There have been a number of interesting articles on media and law topics published over the past month which we will round them up in a separate post later this week.
The following reserved judgment in media law cases are outstanding:
Pinard-Byrne v Linton, heard 22 April 2015 (Judicial Committee of the Privy Council).
Rahman v ARY Network Ltd, heard 1, 2 and 6 July 2015 (Haddon-Cave J).