The libel laws are a threat to national security

In its Christmas quiz, Private Eye reminds readers that in 2009 the pornographer and newspaper owner Richard Desmond sued the business journalist Tom Bower for saying in passing that he told his editors what they must in their papers. Desmond insisted that the very idea that he might use his tame journalists to reward his friends and punish his enemies was a libellous slur.

“Which of the following evidence,” asks the Eye, “did Mr Justice Eady rule was relevant to the case and could go before the jury?

a) The full text of a memo from a former editor complaining that he was forced to run ‘unjustified stories to settle scores’.

b) A tape of Desmond telling a businessman ‘I’m the worst fucking enemy you’ll ever have’ three days before a negative story was printed about him.

c) The fact that Desmond once punched a night editor for not running a story he wanted in the paper.”

As anyone who watches restriction on freedom of expression will have guessed, Eady ruled all of the above inadmissible. He refused to allow evidence of proprietorial interference to be heard in a case about proprietorial interference. Read the whole thing


One thought on “The libel laws are a threat to national security

  1. A shameless libellous twat like you WOULD sat that Nick.

    Nick Cohen has libelled an MP.

    In an aside in an article about the danger to Tony Blair’s posse’s vote-base posed by Nigel Farage and the eurosceptics, Nick Cohen, a signatory of the infamously colonialist “Euston Manifesto”, says “George Galloway may have crawled up the posteriors of half the dictators on the planet” with no further reference or evidence relating to this very clear and definite libel.

    Not only is the disgusting toilet-humour-based attack on Galloway factually false, it is revolting and the sort of thing you would expect of 15 year old schoolboys, not key Guardian writers covering the Labour Party’s movements during election time.

    It seems unlikely that George Galloway would have time to pursue all the libels and slanders about him arife in the media, even if he appeared to be the sort of man who would waste his time doing so, which he does not appear to be.

    George Galloway has demonstrated backbone and public service above all else in the face of terrifying odds and negotiated with a handful of the most dangerous regimes on the planet. Cohen’s allegation is even more extremely ridiculous on some levels (the number of dictators Galloway has had contact with – which happens to be less or the same as the number with whom Blair, and other statespersons such as members of the Royal Family, have had contact with), than on others: the claim about Galloway grovelling to these individuals, portrayed in a completely revolting and childish way, is itself very ridiculous when any actual evidence is presented, but Cohen has no time for that, throwing a hideous libel of George Galloway into an aside in an article whose point is missed entirely by Labour supporters in denial of the reality behind the Galloway-Blair split in Labour.

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