Law and Media Round Up – 10 April 2017

10 04 2017

The Hilary legal term ends on Wednesday 12 April 2017.  The Easter Term begins on Tuesday 25 April 2017. Only one of the important outstanding reserved judgments in media law case is due to be delivered before the end of term: Flood v Times Newspapers.

This judgment will be handed down by the Supreme Court on Tuesday 11 April 2017, (nearly 11 weeks after the conclusion of the hearing in January).  The case is of crucial importance for lawyers who bring (or defend) media CFA cases. We had a post about the forthcoming judgment.

It appears that the reserved judgments in the important cases of PNM v Times Newspapers and Lachaux v Independent Print – which were both heard before Flood – will not be handed down this term.

Rupert Murdoch’s £11.7bn bid to take full control of Sky has been cleared by the European competition regulator. The deal still faces regulatory scrutiny from Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority in the UK.

Peter Preston in the Guardian has argued that revelations about harassment claims paid in relation to Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly could affect the way that Ofcom considers the takeover. Seeking Alpha has said that the deal ‘will very likely close’ and will ‘offer an upside of almost 12%.’

Sixty three fresh phone hacking claims have been filed against the Sun and the News of the World. Sir Elton John and Gordon Ramsay are among the claimants.

The defendant in the case of Monroe v Hopkins has applied to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal against last month’s decision of Warby J to award the claimant £24,000 libel damages.  We had a post about this

Three pieces on recent media law decisions

Internet and Social Media

Socially Aware have published a post listing some of the most significant social media news stories from the week.

On the Information Law and Policy Centre blog Christina Angelopoulos, Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law at the University of Cambridge, has analysed the recent Opinion by AG Szpunar in case C-610/15, Stichting Brein v Ziggo.

Google has introduced fact-checking labels on news stories and search results in an effort to combat ‘fake news.’ However Social Media Law Bulletin has questioned who will be fact checking these new fact checkers.

The chief executive of News Corp has made comments at the Asia Society in Hong Kong warning that digital algorithms at Facebook and Google have “left us perched on the edge of the slippery slope of censorship”.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

Carol Rohan Beyts, who was seeking compensation for “distress” after being photographed urinating on an Aberdeenshire golf course owned by U.S. President Donald Trump has failed in her claim.

A Canadian company which manufactures an internet-enabled sex toy under the We-Vibe brand, has reached a settlement in a class action in which it was alleged that it collected and stored intimate data without the consent of the customer.

The Digital Economy Bill has changed the definition of “personal data”

The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) is under review.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) has released a case summary with implications for retailers attempting to obtain consent for privacy-compliance or anti-spam compliance purposes.

The ICO has fined 11 charities this month an after investigation into practices in charity fundraising and nuisance phone calls.

Surveillance

The Privacy, Security and Information Law blog has questioned whether the The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 is a “Snooper’s Charter” or a “legitimate surveillance tool for today’s society.”

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The Sussex Police force has defended publishing stories on its website as “in the public interest” after it broke a reporting restriction to include the new home address of a domestic abuse victim in a court report.

Reuters will share the story behind some of its news articles in a bid to provide “additional transparency” on its reporting process for readers.

Buzzfeed has sought a court order in the US directed at Press Gazette forcing it to disclose confidential journalistic material.

IPSO

The Express website has accepted that it was wrong to publish a headline suggesting Muslims wanted to ban the new plastic £5 notes, however IPSO have ruled that the headline did not constitute a ‘significant inaccuracy’ and was therefore not a breach of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

There were no statements in open court this week.

Last week in the Courts

There was a successful application for permission to appeal in the case of Stocker v Stocker on 5 April 2017 heard by Arden LJ.  We had a post about this (including the Grounds, Skeleton and Reasons).

On 6 April 2017 Popplewell J handed down judgment in Stunt v Associated Newspapers, ([2017] EWHC 695 (QB)) (heard 1 and 2 March 2017).  We had a post about the judgment from the victorious defendant’s solicitor, Keith Mathiesen.  There was also a post on the Panopticon blog.

On 5 April 2016 Sir David Eady handed down judgment in the case of EZE Group Ltd v Taylor Marshall Ltd, (heard 23 March 2017)

Events

28 April 2017, “Conference on Freedom of Expression Online,” Nicosia, Filoxenia Conference Centre, Cyprus

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

Australia

In the case of Defteros v Google Inc & Anor [2017] VSC 158 John Dixon J granted summary judgment to Google Australia (Pty) Ltd in a defamation claim.  The claim against the first defendant, Google Inc, continues.

Inspector Jack Lee, the policeman who named Lloyd Rayney as the only suspect in his wife’s murder, has testified in his trial. He has said that he believed he legally had to correct the police commissioner’s comment that he was a person of interest.

In the case of Carolan v Fairfax Media (No.7) [2017] NSWSC 351 McCallum J refused to grant a permanent injunction after a successful libel action where there was no threat to repeat the defamatory imputations.

Bahamas

Political activist Omar Archer Senior is to remain in custody until his court date for criminal libel after failing to appear in court four months ago.

Canada

Graeme Hamilton in the National Post has examined how a now defunct Romanian website, globe24h.com, has shown tensions between privacy and transparency in Canadian courts.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has revealed for the first time that it uses surveillance of mobile phones in its investigations.

Raymond Gagnon has been awarded $60,000 in damages to be paid by his brother-in-law, Brad Firth.  Last month’s the Supreme Court ruling found that Firth had defamed Gangon by spreading lies about Gagnon’s role in the death of Firth’s sister, Irene Korte’s.

The vigilante group Surrey Creep Catchers is facing two defamation claims in British Columbia including one from a man who criticised the group’s practices in an online commentary that he says led to him wrongly being called a pedophile.

In the case of Murphy v Murphy 2017 ONSC 1678 Beaudoin J awarded totals of $70,000 and $90.000 against the first and second defendants who had failed to file defences to a libel claim.

Germany

The German cabinet has approved a plan to force social network operators to create a complaints mechanism allowing members of the public to report criminal content.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong finance chief Paul Chan and his wife have won an appeal court ruling in a defamation case that stems from allegations of cheating in 2011 at a school their daughter attended (see Jonathan Lu and Others v. Paul Chan Mo-Po and another [2017] HKCA 149; CACV 252/2015).

Ireland

Roxana Pach, a trainee dental nurse who claimed that a Dublin bus driver called her a ‘skankhole’,  has lost a €75,000 damages claim for defamation of character. The judgment reinforced the principle that ‘vulgar language used as a reprimand does not amount to defamation.’

Jamaica

West Indies cricketer Marlon Samuels has won a defamation case against Australian cricketer Geoff Lawson and broadcaster 2KY, after comments accusing Samuels of being involved in criminal gangs in Jamaica.

Malta

Transport Minister Joe Mizzi will not collect €7,000 in damages from a Facebook user who was found to have libelled him.

Parliament has approved the second reading of the Media Act.

New Zealand

Labour leader Andrew Little has given evidence in the defamation case filed against him by Scenic Hotel founder Earl Hagaman and his wife Lani, who are seeking damages of $2.3 million after Little questioned the nature and timing of a $100,000 donation the couple made to the National Party in 2014 just months before the election. A jury was told how Little “unfair, cruel and cynical” in his attack on the couple. After more than 13 hours of deliberations across two days, jury found by a majority that Mr Little had not defamed Mrs Hagaman but was unable to reach a decision on the claim by Mr Hagaman.  There may now be a re-trial.

Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has filed a defamation claim against a former employee seeking $24,000 in damages.

Nigeria

A court has thrown out a N100 billion libel claim filed by a former Chief of Army Staff, Azubuike Ihejirika, against Australian, Stephen Davies, Editor-in-Chief of Arise TV, Nduka Obaigbena and his firm, Leaders and Company Limited.

Apostle Johnson Suleman, president and founder of Omega Fire Industry, has filed a N1 billion libel claim against Stephanie Otobo.

Spain

Spanish businessman Luis Pineda, who was found guilty of sending 57 libellous tweets, has been ordered to send a series of apology Tweets by a Seville court.

Switzerland

A Swiss man is facing defamation charges for liking Facebook posts that accused an animal rights activist of racism and anti-Semitism.

United States

President Trump has signed a bill which nullifies the Broadband Consumer Privacy Rules passed by the FCC in October 2016.

A claim brought by a protester in Scotland against Trump International Golf Course has been dismissed.

Forbes has examined what a current defamation and extortion battle between Darryl Katz and actress and model Greice Santo, who has alleged that Katz offered her a starring role and millions of dollars in exchange for sex, shows us about crisis management.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

As already mentioned, on Tuesday 11 April 2017, the Supreme Court will hand down judgment in the cases of Flood v Times Newspapers, Miller v Associated Newspapers and Frost v MGN (heard 24, 25 and 26 January 2017).

Judgments

The following reserved judgments after public hearings in media law cases are outstanding:

Mionis v Democratic Press heard 27 October 2016 (Gloster, Sharp and Lindblom LJJ)

Lachaux v Independent Print, heard 29 and 30 November and 1 December 2016 the Court of Appeal (Macfarlane, Davis and Sharp LJJ).

Lisle-Mainwaring v Associated Newspapers heard 12 December 2016 (HHJ Moloney QC).

PNM v Times Newspapers, heard 17 and 18 January 2017 (UK Supreme Court)

This post was compiled by Georgia Tomlinson who is a researcher.

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11 04 2017
daveyone1

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