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★ Libel

Libel: see Slander & Law & Criticism & Dissent & Free Speech

Noam Chomsky - McLibel TV - Steel & Morris - Richard Dawkins - Ian Hislop - Harry Kalven - John Mortimer - Portillo's State Secrets TV - 

 

 

107,094.  The law of seditious libel which makes it a crime to criticise people in government … most countries still have that; we had it until 1964 … they did it in the course of the civil rights struggle.  Noam Chomsky, lecture Deterring Democracy 1992  

 

 

42,458.  A long time ago there was a company that made lots of money selling bits of meat between two bits of bread.  Many people were employed to put the meat between the bread and many animals were killed to be the meat.  A friendly clown persuaded children to love the company.  Some decades passed and all was well.  The company became very very rich.  Richer even than many countries.  And then some people wrote in their newspapers that eating lots of meat and bread could make people ill.  Other people said on television that too many trees had been cut down and that the workers were unhappy.  This made the company very angry.  The company looked around the world and saw that in England there existed a special law that could stop people saying things the company didn’t like.  And make them say sorry.  (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech)  McLibel (Two People Who Wouldn’t Say Sorry) 1997 ***** starring Helen Steel & David Morris & Eric Schlosser & Morgan Spurlock & Oliver Ford Davies et al, directors Franny Armstrong & Ken Loach, opening credits

 

42,459.  19th June 1997: the Royal Courts of Justice.   (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech)  ibid.

 

42,460.  You have to stand up to them and say, No, I’m not going to do it.   (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech)  ibid.  Helen Steel

 

42,461.  One of the spies ... stole letters, broke into the office to take photographs, followed people home; we were infiltrated for about eighteen months by seven different spies.   (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech & Spies)  ibid.  Dave Morris

 

42,462.  At some meetings there were as many spies as campaigners.  (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech & Spies)  ibid.  Dave Morris

 

42,463.  Five of us in the group have received libel writs over the What’s Wrong With McDonald’s leaflets.  (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech)  ibid.

 

42,464.  The world’s largest fast food business McDonald’s has begun a libel action at the high court against two environmental campaigners.  (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech)  ibid.  BBC News 28th June 1994

 

42,465.  We were defending ourselves.  ibid.  Helen Steel

 

42,466.  Their own expert was saying, It’s a very reasonable thing to say.  ibid. 

 

42,467.  The entire ad campaign ... was intrinsically deceptive.  (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech & Advertisement)  ibid.  Stephen Gardner, Assistant US Attorney General

 

42,468.  McDonald’s to try to justify themselves have had to bring all their big guns into the witness box.  (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech)  ibid.  Dave Morris

 

42,469.  One of the biggest battles we had throughout the trial was getting McDonald’s to hand over the relevant documents.  (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech)  ibid.  Helen Steel

 

42,470.  They flew over to have secret talks with me and Helen.  (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech)  ibid.  Dave Morris

 

42,471.  They just couldn’t bear to accept any of our demands really, and so it was back to court.  (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech)  ibid. 

 

42,472.  They would not be allowed to carry out any overt union activity on McDonald’s premises.  (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech & Trade Union)  ibid.  trial judge

 

42,473.  Key practices that they’ve pioneered over the last fifty years are spreading throughout society.  (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech)  ibid.  Dave Morris

 

42,474.  McLibel is now the longest trial ever in English history.  (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech)  ibid.  Helen Steel

 

42,475.  Libel laws are being used in this country as a draconian form of mass censorship.  ibid.  Dave Morris, day 309

 

42,476.  Judgment Day:  It has not been proved that a diet high in fat and animal products and low in fibre leads to a very real risk of cancer.  (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech)  ibid.  trial judge

 

42,477.  McDonald’s are culpably responsible for cruel practices in the rearing and slaughter of some of the animals which are used in their food.  (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech & Animals & Capitalism)  ibid.

 

42,478.  Two days later: 21st June 1997: today is mass defiance day.  There’s going to be protests outside five hundred of McDonald’s UK store, and lots around the world too.  They haven’t seen the last of the leaflet.  (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech)  ibid.  Helen Steel

 

42,479.  Most so-called anti-social behaviour is actually people fighting over the crumbs that are thrown from the table.  The real people who are behaving anti-socially are those who control all of the resources.  (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech)  ibid.

 

 

42,480.  Having largely beaten McDonald’s ... we have now exposed the notoriously oppressive and unfair UK laws.  As a result of the ... ruling today, the government may be forced to amend or scrap some of the existing UK laws.  We hope that this will result in greater public scrutiny and criticism of powerful organisations whose practices have a detrimental effect on society and the environment.  The McLibel campaign has already proved that determined and widespread grass-roots protests and defiance can undermine those who try to silence their critics, and also render oppressive laws unworkable.  The continually growing opposition to McDonald’s and all it stands for is a vindication of all the efforts of those around the world who have been exposing and challenging the corporation's business practices.  (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech)  Steel & Morris press release

 

 

79,109.  It is a lamentable observation that because of the way our laws are skewed toward the plaintiff, London has become the libel capital of the world.  Richard Dawkins

 

 

79,110.  All the libel lawyers will tell you there’s no libel any more, that everyone’s given up.  Ian Hislop

 

 

95,012.  The hallmark of closed societies throughout the world.  Harry Kalven, legal historian

 

 

97,048.  It’s odd, isn’t it?  Kill a person or beat him over the head and remove his wallet, and all you’ll get is an Old Bailey judge and an Old Bailey hack.  Cast a well-deserved slur on his moral character, ridicule his nose or belittle his bank balance and you will get a High Court judge and some of the smoothest silks in the business.  (Law & Libel)  John Mortimer, Rumpole and the Bubble Reputation

 

 

112,949.  On trial: the magazine that found itself in the dock, and the moral campaigner who put it there.  (Secret & Libel & Blasphemy & Magazine)  Portillo’s State Secrets IX, BBC 2015  

 

112,952.  The veteran campaigner Mrs Whitehouse brought a private prosecution for the common law offence of blasphemous libel against the magazine Gay News for a poem that it published in 1976.  (Secret & Libel & Blasphemy & Magazine)  ibid.

 

112,953.  The trial lasted six days … The editor Denis Lemon and Gay News were found guilty, and Lemon was given a nine-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months.  (Secret & Libel & Blasphemy & Magazine)  ibid.