The “Journalism Exemption” in the Data Protection Act: Part 1, The Law – Hugh Tomlinson QC

28 03 2017

In recent years there has been a new focus by media lawyers on the operation of the “statutory privacy” provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 (“the DPA”).  The Leveson Report and the resulting ICO publication “Data Protection and Journalism: a guide for the media” (“the ICO Guide”) has reminded us that the media must comply with the provisions of the act. Most importantly, the Court of Appeal’s “deletion” of section 13(2) (see our post here) has meant that general damages for distress are now available in DPA claims without proof of financial loss. Read the rest of this entry »





Data Protection: Pre-publication claims and section 32(4), the case for disapplication – Hugh Tomlinson QC

28 02 2017

privacySection 32 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (“the DPA”) contains a curious provision apparently designed to prevent “pre-publication” claims where unpublished journalistic, literary or artistic material is involved.  There is no basis for this provision in the Data Protection Directive  (“the Directive”) and it appears to be inconsistent with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and a clear candidate for disapplication. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, Strasbourg: Rubio Dosamantes v Spain, TV discussions of singer’s sexuality and relationship breached Article 8 – Hugh Tomlinson QC

22 02 2017

The Court of Human Rights has held that the fact that singer was well known to the public and been the subject of well publicised rumours about her sexuality did not justify the broadcast of interviews about her relationships and sexuality. In the case of Rubio Dosamantes v Spain (Judgment of 21 February 2017)(in French only) the Third Section held that the dismissal of the applicant’s domestic claims was a breach of her Article 8 rights. Read the rest of this entry »





Implementing Leveson, the local press seeks to defend the indefensible – Hugh Tomlinson QC

29 12 2016

trinity-mirror-papersOver the past few weeks the national press has ramped up its dishonest and unprincipled campaign against the implementation of the Leveson recommendations.  It finances and promotes something called “Free the Press” – which, among other things, offers a series of misleading and inaccurate graphics to place in anti-Leveson articles. Read the rest of this entry »





Implementing Leveson, how the national newspaper groups use the local press as “human shields” – Hugh Tomlinson QC

20 12 2016

nottingham-postThe local press has, over the past few weeks, been running an anti-Leveson campaign in response to the Government’s unfair and unbalanced consultation on the implementation of Leveson. The themes are familiar: local newspapers are the life blood of democracy, they didn’t do phone hacking but they will be financially ruined if section 40 is implemented. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, Belgium: Olivier G v Le Soir. “Right to be forgotten” requires anonymisation of online newspaper archive – Hugh Tomlinson QC

19 07 2016

lesoir_363x242In the case of Olivier G v Le Soir (29 April 2016, n° C.15.0052.F [pdf]) the Belgian Court of Cassation decided that, as the result of the “right to be forgotten”, a newspaper had been properly ordered to anonymise the online version of a 1994 article concerning a fatal road traffic accident. Read the rest of this entry »





Cultural cold wars: The risk of anti-‘extremism’ policy for academic freedom of expression – Alison Scott-Baumann and Hugh Tomlinson QC

8 04 2016

cvr-PreventGuidanceUniversities are under increasing pressure from government to prevent students coming into contact with “extreme” ideas. The view is that students exposed to any kind of views designated “extreme” could be drawn into terrorism. But the risk to freedom of speech and academic freedom is obvious. Society needs to avoid a climate in which ideas are seen as dangerous, deviant and extremist if they differ from views that are believed to be held by the majority. Read the rest of this entry »