Take 10 #11

Published on 18 February 2021

Welcome to RPC's media and communications law update. This issue reports on key media developments and the latest cases.

News items

Duchess of Sussex v Associated Newspapers Limited [2021] EWHC 273 (Ch)

The Duchess of Sussex has achieved success in her claim against the Mail on Sunday over its publication of large parts of a letter sent to her father shortly after her wedding to Prince Harry. Read more 

Reporting restrictions  

Following an application by the Spectator magazine to the High Court in Edinburgh, Lady Dorian has amended an order made during the trial of Alex Salmond in March 2020 which prevented the publication of any information likely to disclose the identity of the complainers in that case. Read more 

Contempt of court for embargo breach

Contempt of court proceedings have been initiated against Tim Crosland, a barrister and director of eco-charity Plan B Earth, after he leaked a Supreme Court judgment in a case concerning Heathrow's third runway the day before it was due to be delivered. Read more 

Tinkler v Ferguson & Ors [2021] EWCA Civ 18

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal against a strike-out of a defamation and malicious falsehood claim on the basis that the action was abusive and there was no properly arguable case that the Claimant had been caused pecuniary damage as a required by s3(1) of the Defamation Act 1952. Read more 

Ex-FA chief seeks damages following corruption claims

Martin Glenn, former chief executive of the Football Association is seeking damages from Craig Kline, former director of football at Fulham FC, after Kline accused Glenn of corruption and covering up child sexual abuse on Twitter. Read more


News and Tech

Following the introduction of a similar product by Facebook last month, Google has announced that its  News Showcase tool, which offers personalised news content to users, will be rolled out in the UK. The tech giant has signed up more than 120 national and local publications in the UK, including DC Thomson, Evening Standard, The Financial Times, The Independent, The Telegraph and Reuters. Read more

Education Secretary announces free speech plan

Gavin Williamson has announced a series of proposals that would allow those who are 'no-platformed' or 'silenced' by universities to take action for infringements of their free speech, said to be part of the government's manifesto commitment to protect free speech and academic freedom in universities in England. Read more

Government urged to act on FOI 

Current and former newspaper editors have come together to sign an openDemocracy public letter calling for MPs to investigate the government's handling of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. Read more

CMA admits new regulations necessary in tech sector

Andrew Coscelli, the Chief Executive of the Competition and Markets Authority has recognised that regulators have struggled to keep up with technology platforms. Read more

China bans BBC World News

Ofcom and the UK media appear to have inadvertently started a licensing battle with the Chinese media. Read more 

Quote of the fortnight:

"Transparency is not a privilege or a gift bequeathed to a grateful citizenry by a benign government. It is a fundamental right of a free people to be able to see and scrutinise the decisions made on their behalf.  That message has failed to get through to the government of Boris Johnson, which seems hell-bent on making it harder. This is not only a disgrace, but a mistake.” -  John Witherow, The Times editor, expressing his support for openDemocracy's challenge to government handling of FOI requests

Stay connected and subscribe to our latest insights and views 

Subscribe Here