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Branch member’s libel case must go to trial

A MEMBER of London Freelance Branch, Paddy French, is being sued by another journalist, John Ware, over a pamphlet, Is The BBC Anti-Labour? which he wrote in response to John Ware's Panorama programme "Is Labour Anti-Semitic?".

In October 2020 London Freelance Branch passed a motion noting that "we do not believe that the libel laws, and their inevitable costs of tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds, are the best way to solve disputes between journalists... We urge that the matter be resolved without recourse to libel courts."

The case is proceeding. On 24 February Mr Justice Saini ruled that "the allegations conveyed statements of fact and not opinion,", noting that "to accuse a journalist of behaving in the manner alleged is clearly defamatory at common law". The case will therefore go to trial, on a date yet to be set.