WARE v FRENCH GOES TO TRIAL

February 28, 2021

THE CASE of Ware v French continues.

John Ware is suing Press Gang editor Paddy French over an article which criticised the 2019 Panorama programme “Is Labour Anti-Semitic?” 

The article appeared in the online Canadian magazine ColdType and was reprinted in the Press Gang pamphlet “Is The BBC Anti-Labour?” published in December 2019.

The libel trial is likely to take place next year. 

At a preliminary hearing on Thursday, February 18, Mr Justice Saini heard arguments from both sides about what an ordinary reader would have understood the article to mean. 

Representing Ware, William Bennett QC claimed the article branded his client 

… a rogue journalist who had engaged in dirty tricks by deliberately setting out to sabotage the Labour Party’s chances of winning the General Election by producing an edition of Panorama in which he dishonestly presented a biased and false portrayal of the case against the Labour Party for antisemitism.

Hugh Tomlinson QC, for French, argued the “natural and ordinary meaning” of the piece was that

... the Claimant [John Ware] produced a television programme which was one-sided and strongly advocated the position that the Labour Party was anti-semitic … as a result, the Claimant had engaged in rogue journalism

Mr Justice Saini’s version of the meaning was that John Ware

… is a rogue journalist who had engaged in dirty tricks by deliberately setting out to sabotage the Labour Party’s chances of winning the General Election by producing an edition of Panorama in which he dishonestly presented a biased and false portrayal of the case against the Labour Party for anti-Semitism.

The Judge also decided that the meaning was factual and not opinion.

The judgment can be read here.

Costs are yet to be determined.

In a statement, French stated:

I am disappointed by the decision.

However, I remain resolutely committed to defending this action.

My legal team believe I have a strong defence and the formal documents will be served within the next few months .

The overall cost of the full libel trial could rise as high as £1,000,000.

The Press Gang fighting fund, which has already raised nearly £25,000 from a thousand supporters, can be found here.


IS THE BBC ANTI-LABOUR?

December 21, 2019

Pride of Britain Awards - London

THE PRESS GANG report on the Panorama programme Is Labour Anti-Semitic? was published on December 7.

Press Gang found the BBC was biased in its journalism, leaving the Corporation open to the charge that the broadcast was a deliberate attempt to interfere in the General Election. 

The interim report lists serious breaches of the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines in the 59 minute programme first aired on July 10.

You can read the report here.

The Panorama programme is still available on iPlayer — the link is here.

The BBC’s Editorial Guidelines can be accessed here. 

The Press Gang 16 page report — rush-released to be available before the election — cites nine separate occasions when programme-makers were in breach of the Editorial Guidelines. 

Copies were delivered  to various media organisations in London.

A hundred went to senior managers and journalists at the BBC. 

Other copies went to the Channel 4 News, Sky News, LBC, the Guardian and the Times, the Sunday Times and the Sun on Sunday

Here’s the report’s dramatic cover. 

BBC_cover_08_b

Our investigation into this rogue journalism continues.

This is important work and you can underwrite this project by supporting our crowdfunded site — here. 

♦♦♦

THE REPORT was published on Saturday, 7 December 2019. 

The next morning, the BBC Press Office got in touch and asked for the following statement to be included:

The BBC stands by its journalism and we completely reject any accusations of bias or dishonesty. Panorama explored a topic of undoubted public interest, broadcasting powerful and disturbing testimonies from party members who’d suffered anti-Semitic abuse. We also heard from former Labour officials, some of whom defied non-disclosure agreements to speak out about their experiences inside the Party and its anti-Semitism crisis. This shows the serious questions facing the party and its leadership on this issue. The programme adhered to the BBC’s editorial guidelines, including a full right of reply for the Labour Party. John Ware is a highly experienced and respected investigative journalist, whose track record includes critically-acclaimed and award-winning reports. We reject any claims Panorama took any of the evidence out of context. 

♦♦♦

NOTE
1 Paddy French declares an interest in this issue. A life-long Labour voter, he joined the party after Jeremy Corbyn was elected Leader.
2 Much of this article is based on the work of others including The Canary, Electronic Intifada, Vox Political and Jewish Voice for Labour.
3 On December 13 the article was amended to include the statement from the BBC.

4 There is a typo in the Press Gang pamphlet Is The BBC Anti-Labour? In the note on page 15, the figure 763 should read 673. The error does not affect the other figures in the note which remain correct. 

♦♦♦
Published: 7 December 2019
© Press Gang
♦♦♦

♦♦♦

CORRECTIONS  Please let us know if there are any mistakes in this article — they’ll be corrected as soon as possible.

RIGHT OF REPLY  If you have been mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let us have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory we’ll add it to the article.

 

 

 

 


%d bloggers like this: