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Appeal in Defence of Free Speech

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LM magazine is being sued for libel by ITN, in a case which threatens to bankrupt the magazine and also raises issues about the use of libel to censor criticism. As the publishers of LM, we have launched an Appeal in Defence of Free Speech. It has already won support from many eminent writers, journalists, academics and artists. Here are some of the signatories. We will be building support for the appeal until the case is won.

Helene Guldberg and Claire Fox

Free Speech Appeal

We, the undersigned, believe that all open and democratic societies should acknowledge the public's right to read critical and dissenting views. Without the right, the sphere of public debate and expression is dangerously narrowed. No public figure or organisation should be exempt. Nothing should be above criticism.

In February 1997 LM magazine published an article criticising ITN's award-winning footage from Trnopolje camp in Bosnia. Throughout Europe and in the United States the debate has become a matter of public interest and has been discussed widely in the media. In the UK, by contrast, the debate has been stifled because ITN issued a libel writ against the editor and publishers of LM magazine. We encourage others to join us in condemning ITN's decision to act in this manner as a deplorable attack on

ITN has displayed contempt for the public's right to decide the relative merits of two sides of an important argument. We call on all those who value their freedom to join us in demanding the right to make up our own minds.

Fleur Adcock
Lisa Appignanesi
Rasheed Araeen
Gill Barnes
John Berger
William Boyd
Jenny Diski
Ariel Dorfman
Margaret Drabble
Christopher Dunkley
Felipe Fernandez-Armesto
Anne Fine
Professor Johan Galtung
Steven Alan Green
Viv Groskop
Professor Jim Haynes
Paolo Hewitt
Richard Hoggart
Michael Holroyd
Patrick Hughes
Geraldine James
Jackie Kay
Professor Wilhelm Kempf
Francis King
Phillip Knightley
Donu Kogbara
Angela Lambert
David Leavitt
Doris Lessing
Liz Lochhead
David Lorimer
Jake Lynch
Shena Mackay
William McIlvanney
Candia McWilliam
Deborah Moggach
Bel Mooney
Blake Morrison
Ursula Owen
Nikos Papastergiadis
Matthew Parris
Per Petterson
Mike Phillips
Gillian Reynolds
Bruce Robinson
Laetitia Sadier
Nicholas Spice
Judith Stamper
David Starkey
Henrik Stenius
Chris Tame
Paul Theroux
Colm Toibin
Joanna Trollope
Penny Vincenzi
Auberon Waugh
Fay Weldon
Edmund White
AN Wilson

Hundreds of people have helped the Off The Fence Fund raise over £60,000. But much more than this is needed to see the case through and to defend press freedom whenever it is attacked. Libel cases are notoriously expensive, and can cost in excess of £200,000 for lawyers and barristers. This does not even take into account the costs of paying barristers in court. Professional legal advice needs to be taken at every step to ensure the best chance of victory.

To send a donation, please make cheques payable to OFF THE FENCE FUND and send to:

c/o LM,
Signet House,
49-51 Farringdon Road,
London EC1M 3JB

Now go to sign the appeal and find out how you can raise money