LM press releases
Thursday 19 June 1997
MCLIBEL VERDICT: PUBLISHER CALLS FOR LIBEL LAW REFORM
Helene Guldberg, publisher of LM magazine, said today that whatever
the verdict in the McLibel trial, the case demonstrates that libel
law endangers free speech. Guldberg is currently being sued for
libel by multi-million pound news broadcaster ITN.
'Regardless of the final verdict, the extraordinary length and
cost of the 25 month McLibel trial serves as a warning to individuals,
campaigns and media professionals that there is no such thing
as free speech in Britain.
Libel law stifles the ability of us all to criticise and hold
to account the huge public bodies that affect our lives. It is
not just actual writs but the threat of writs that suppresses
The right of powerful organisations to sue for libel makes a mockery
of free speech and the freedom of the press. The likes of McDonalds
and ITN have unlimited resources with which to influence public
opinion and put their case across. They use libel writs to gag
As a publisher with direct experience of the high cost of challenging
in print a powerful company, I support wholeheartedly Helen Steel
and Dave Morris proposal for a reform of British libel law to
include a public interest defence. This would make it impossible
for the McLibel case or the ITN action to ever happen again.'