No Trial and No Capitulation at Newsnight

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of right-wing think tanks, it’s now one year since Policy Exchange promised to pursue the BBC’s Newsnight “relentlessly, to trial or capitulation” if it dared to broadcast a report which Policy Exchange claimed was libellous. The report was broadcast on 12 December 2007, and was available on the BBC iPlayer for a week after that.

This means that is now too late to bring a claim of libel over the televised report; they could still go after written material on the BBC website, although at this stage that would be very lame.

More importantly, however, the fact that Policy Exchange failed to follow through is evidence that Dean Godson is full of it, and that the threat was made to try to bully the BBC into suppressing newsworthy information which Godson did not want in the public domain. Shameful, and a mockery of Policy Exchange’s supposed support for “libel reform”.

I last blogged on the dispute here.

8 Responses

  1. If there is a trial, it may well involve mosques suing Policy Exchange rather than Policy Exchange suing Newsnight. It will be interesting to see if PE can find a lawyer who won’t simply advise them to settle.

  2. I’m curious. In the US, the expression “public domain” has a very particular meaning with regards to intellectual property. Is this the same case in the UK and are you using it in that sense or outside of its expressly legal meaning?

  3. It can mean “out of copyright”, but here I just mean “made public knowledge”.

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