Category: Media Law

All about images: privacy, visuocentrism, and the Hancock affair

Thomas Bennett

On Friday 25 June 2021, British tabloid The Sun published pictures of the UK Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, kissing Gina Coladangelo in his office at the Department of Health. These pictures were, it seems, captured by a CCTV camera in the office and leaked by person(s) unknown to the newspaper. The pictures were soon joined on The Sun’s website by a video clip (seemingly from the same camera). The clip shows Hancock and Coladangelo in what might be described as a passionate embrace. The footage lasts just over one minute and remains online, including on The Sun’s Youtube channel.

The pictures and footage caused instant controversy due to the fact that both Hancock and Coladangelo are married to other people, and due to the fact that Hancock brought Coladangelo into the Department for Health during the pandemic, where after a period of unpaid work she took on a paid role (taxpayer funded) in the autumn of 2020. These facts raise questions of both a moral and political nature. It is also clear that the actions of Hancock and Coladangelo breached COVID guidelines that Hancock had himself played a key role in designing and promoting during the pandemic. This raised the politically toxic spectre of hypocrisy that led to his resignation on Saturday 26 June.

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Trump’s Facebook ban upheld – but the future of the oversight board is in doubt

Elaine Fahey

Referred to by some as Facebook’s “supreme court”, the oversight board tasked with reversing or upholding Facebook’s content moderation decisions has ruled that the social media company’s ban of Donald Trump should be maintained.

The board upheld Facebook’s January 7 decision to ban then-President Trump from posting content on Facebook and Instagram, after his social media activity was partially blamed for inciting the violence at the January 6 Capitol riots, during which five people died. However, the board noted that indefinite suspensions were not described in Facebook’s content policies – and so the ban will be reviewed again in six months.

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The BBC’s prohibition on staff attending BLM or LGBTQ+ marches appears unlawful

Thomas Bennett

The British Broadcasting Corporation’s director general, Tim Davie, recently announced new rules on impartiality for employees. These rules prohibit BBC journalists from publishing any statements or ‘public demonstrations or gatherings about controversial issues’ – even in a personal capacity outside of working hours – that might be seen to lend support to a particular political perspective, in order to prevent accusations of bias from arising against those journalists. It has been Continue reading

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