IMPRESS, the first independent press regulator, has announced that it has submitted its application for recognition to the Press Recognition Panel and its first members. The chair of IMPRESS, Walter Merricks, gave a lecture entitled “IMPRESS the future of press regulation in the UK” at the LSE on 20 January 2016.
There were news stories about IMPRESS and its application in the Guardian and the Press Gazette. The only other press coverage concerned the funding for IMPRESS, with the Daily Mail telling its readers that IMPRESS is “propped up by Mosley’s millions”. This would perhaps have come as a surprise to the paper’s readers who would not previously have heard of IMPRESS. There was also a report to the same effect in the Independent. In fact IMPRESS is supported by the Independent Press Regulation Trust – which in turn receives money from a Mosley family charitable trust.
The Law Commission has launched a consultation to explore how the law governing misconduct in a public office is being used and the problems caused by its lack of clarity. The Commission has published an “Issues Paper” [pdf] dealing with the current law. On 20 January 2016 the Commission held a symposium. The News Media Association reported a call for the abolition of the offence from Head of Editorial Legal Services at Associated Newspapers, Liz Hartley.
The new 3rd Edition of The Law of Privacy and the Media has been published by Oxford University Press. The book is edited by Mr Justice Warby and Nicole Moreham and is written by a number of members of 5RB. We ran one extract from the book last week and will be publishing two more shortly.
The Law Society Gazette has a piece entitled “ECHR not binding over legal costs appeal, rules judge” commenting on the recent decision of Master Gordon-Saker in the case of BNM v Mirror Group ( EWHC B1 (Costs)). There is also a comment on the case on Litigation Futures.
The Press Gazette reports that Jack Monroe is suing Mail Online columnist Katie Hopkins for libel in a tweet linking her to war memorial vandalism. The story was also covered in the Guardian and the Independent.
Data Protection and Data Privacy
The Electronic Privacy Information Centre (“EPIC”) is seeking permission to intervene in the case of 10 International Human Rights Organisations v United Kingdom, which concerns the lawfulness of the Tempora, Prism and Upstream programmes.
The Hawtalk blog has a post about the GDPR entitled “Data Protection Regulation Update: precise implementation depends on exceptions and Recitals”.
Two more posts on the decision in Barbulescu v Romania:
- Can employers read their staff’s private internet messages at work without violating human rights?, Amy Lambert and Louise Benski, Privacy and Information Law Blog.
- New ruling says bosses can monitor private communications – or does it? Gateley
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
There were no statements in open court this week.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
The Press Gazette has a piece on the ABC figures for newspaper circulation for December 2015 – from 1.8 million for the Sun down to 56,000 for the Independent. It also discusses the ABC figures for website readership – from 13.1 million average daily unique users for MailOnline to 594,000 for the Daily Star.
Last week in the Courts
On 18 and 22 January 2016 Mann J heard the applications in the News Group phone hacking litigation, Various v NGN.
On 19 January 2016, the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in R (Miranda) v Secretary of State for the Home Department ( EWCA Civ 6). The substantive appeal was dismissed however the court held that the power under the Terrorism Act 2000 Sch.7 para.2(1) to stop and question a person at a port or border area was incompatible with Article 10 in relation to journalistic material, in that it was not subject to adequate safeguards against its arbitrary exercise. There were news stories about the decision in the Press Gazette
On Wednesday 20 January 2016 Nicol J heard a one day preliminary issue trial on meaning in the case of Hiranandani-Vandrevala v Times Newspapers Limited. Judgment was reserved.
On 21 and 22 January 2016 there was a PTR in the case of Stocker v Stocker before Nicol J.
On 22 January 2016, Dingemans J handed down judgment in the case of Sobrinho v Impressa Publishing ( EWHC 66 (QB)) (heard 7 to 9 December 2015). He found that there was no serious harm to reputation and dismissed the action under the “Jameel” principle. There was a news story about the decision on Bloomberg Business entitled “Banker’s Libel Suit ‘Not worth the effort’ London Judge says”
27 January 2016, “Celebrities, the Media and the Personal Data Privacy Wars”, Robin Callender Smith, Gresham College, Museum of London.
12 March 2016, 11 KBW Information Law Conference 2016, Royal College of Surgeons, 35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PE
Please let us know if there are any events you would like to be included on this list by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
CBC reports that Northwestel is suing Martin Lehnher of Orange Technology for libel over remarks made in a radio interview.
The long running defamation trial in British Columbia brought by former Liberal MP Blair Wilson against the Province newspaper has heard opening submissions for the defendant.
The Canadian Privacy Law blog has an interesting presentation on the use of social media by lawyers.
The BBC reports that Dublin’s District Court has dismissed a libel action against a 93 year old woman who called the plaintiff a bad man after he had bought the copyright to image of Dylan Thomas taken by her late husband. The Irish Times noted that the plaintiff, Haydn Price had failed to prove that the letter complained of had been published to anyone.
The Japan Times reports that the Supreme Court has held that the broadcaster NHK did not defame a Taiwanese woman by using the term “human zoo” to refer to the appearance of her father in the “Japan-Britain Exhibition” in 1910.
A Federal Judge has dismissed libel claim against Bill Cosby who, when commenting on claims that he had assaulted numerous women, had denied the allegations saying “a guy doesn’t have to answer to innuendos. People should fact-check. People shouldn’t have to go through that and shouldn’t answer to innuendos.” The Judge held that the comments were pure opinion.
Next Week in the Courts
On 25 and 26 January 2016 there will be a hearing in the case of Lokhova v Tymula before Nicol J.
On the same two days there will be a trial in the case of Burrell v Clifford before Deputy Chancery Division Judge Richard Spearman QC. The background can be found in our post on the decision refusing to strike out the claim.
On 28 January 2016 there will be PTR in the case of Axon v Ministry of Defence.
On 28 and 29 January 2016 there will be an application in the case of Monks v National Westminster Bank plc.
The trial in White v Express Newspapers will take place on 7 and March 2016.
The following reserved judgments in media law cases are outstanding:
Lokhova v Tymula, heard 14 and 15 December 2015 (Dingemans J).
McGrath v Bedford., heard 15 January 2016 (Sir David Eady)
Hiranandani-Vandrevala v Times Newspapers Limited, heard 20 January 2016 (Nicol J)
This Round Up was compiled by Tessa Evans, a journalist and researcher. She tweets@tessadevans