Thursday, January 24, 2008

Freedom to review

The Irish News is appealing the finding of libel against them over their review of the restaurant Goodfellas. The essence of their appeal --

Lord Lester QC insisted the review had been written in good faith and without malice. As he opened a hearing, the barrister claimed issues of great public importance dealing with the right to freedom of expression were at stake. "Although it was about a review by a food critic, it could as well have been a review written by a theatre or film critic." ... He told the court: "It [ the review] did not purport to be a factual report by a food scientist. It was a personal description by a food critic explaining why she formed a poor opinion of the restaurant based on her experience as a customer on the evening in question."

One little bit of information in the reporting of the appeal is that the original verdict had an element of a self-inflicted wound for the Irish News, as they were the ones that pushed for a trial.