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(en) UK, Another round of the McDonalds libel case

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 2 Jul 2004 14:48:54 +0200 (CEST)

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Tomorrow is the tenth anniversary since the start of a battle of beliefs,
between one of the biggest bastards on the planet and two unemployed anarchists.
It all started in 1990 when McDonalds served libel writs on members of a
small anarchist group called London Greenpeace (unaffiliated with Greepeace
UK). Two of theses activists, Helen Steel and David Morris, refused to stop
distributing the allegedly libelous leaflet, the infamous, and still
circulating, "Whats Wrong with McDonalds." A David and Goliath marathon
match through the courts began, ending in what has been described as "the
worst Corporate PR disaster in history" for McDonald's.

On June 19th 1997, after a trial lasting 314 days (the longest libel trial
ever in England), Mr. Justice Bell ruled that McDonald's marketing has
"pretended to a positive nutritional benefit which their food (high in fat &
salt etc) did not match"; that McDonald's "exploit children" with their
advertising strategy; are "culpably responsible for animal cruelty"; and
"pay low wages, helping to depress wages in the catering trade."

On March 31st 1999 the Court of Appeal added to those damning findings.
Three Lord Justices ruled that it was fair comment to say that McDonald's
employees worldwide "do badly in terms of pay and conditions", and true that
"if one eats enough McDonald's food, one's diet may well become high in fat
etc., with the very real risk of heart disease." However the Courts ruled
that the Helen and Dave had still libeled McDonald's over some points and
ordered them to pay £40,000 damages to the $35 billion-dollar company. The
McLibel 2 have refused to pay a penny. The European Court of Human Rights
has now agreed that the trial breached Article 6 ‘the right to a fair trial'
and Article 10 ‘right to freedom of expression.' The case will be heard in
full at the European Court on 7th September 2004.

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