|(The following is posted
thanks to John Peter Maher in Chicago)
'English Libel law, a Disgrace to Democracy' - Mike Hume, editor of LM magazine (3-14-00)
The only thing this court case has proved 'beyond reasonable doubt' is that English libel law is a disgrace to democracy and a menace to a free press.
As libel defendants, we were assumed to be guilty unless we could prove our innocence. The court threw out all of our expert witnesses, including John Simpson of the BBC and a leading QC. The judge's summing up was so one-sided that it made ITN's overpaid barrister redundant. And even though the central fact in our article concerning the position of the barbed-wire fence in relation to the journalists has never been seriously challenged, we could not win because the law demanded that we prove the unprovable.
We apologise for nothing. But we will not be appealing. Life is too short, and other issues too important, to waste any more time in the bizarre world of the libel courts.
As I told the judge and jury, I believe in the right of people to judge the truth for themselves in the court of public opinion. What we are allowed to read or hear should not be dictated by ITN, their lawyers, or even the High Court.
The future of LM magazine is now uncertain. But we are not going away, and we will not keep quiet about the concerns that led us to publish Thomas Deichmann's article and, reluctantly, to fight this case: freedom of speech, journalistic standards, and the exploitation of the Holocaust.
We would like to thank all those who have supported our stand for free speech over the past three years, and our legal team led by Gavin Millar, who won everything except the verdict.
In the meantime, if anybody needs a hard-working editor or has some cash to invest in an exciting magazine project....
POST-LIBEL TRIAL PARTY
The LM magazine team would like to invite you to a post-libel trial party
'Did you think we'd crumble Did you think we'd lay down and die, Oh no not LM We will survive'
The party will take place this Saturday night (18 March 2000) to celebrate the survival of LM magazine, come what may.
We shall gather in the pub: The Little Litten 32 Bowling Green Lane London, EC1 off Farringdon Road, from 7-11pm.
(Late night drinking bars in the vicinity for those with stamina.)
LM's co-publisher Helene Guldberg may well strut her stuff to Gloria Gaynor, LM's Mick Hume may well say a few words, the rest of us may well have a deserved pint or two. Come and join us.
You are all invited
or more information, or to offer your comments on British libel laws, phone Claire Fox on +44 (0) 7269 9223 or +44 (0) 976 638584 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
or more about this case see:
* "The Truth vs. ITN - And Reuters" at http://emperors-clothes.com/images/bosnia/camp.htm (This includes both the original text over which ITN sued and the Reuters article which mis-reports the trial - as discussed in "The Tears of the Mighty," above.)