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Hack 1, Litigants 0....

Yesterday we welcomed the news that Aaron Banks lost his libel suit against Carole Cadwalladr of The Guardian.

Since he sued her personally, rather than the paper, she was facing costs of perhaps £1 million. Though doubtless there would have been a fund which the paper would have heavily subsidised.

She won on public interest grounds with the judge arguing that she sincerely believed what she had said about Banks’s Russian links. The conclusions that she drew, “were reasonable”, said Justice Steyn.

Banks says he is likely to appeal, tweeting that the verdict, “leaves open for the journalist the excuse that she thought what she said was correct even though she had no facts”.

Most newspapers reported the news, but unless I missed them, there was a disappointing lack of commentary welcoming this defence of press freedom.

Perhaps rival editors don’t care much for Cadwalladr’s work, but that’s not the point.

I also suggested that flaks should welcome the hack’s win.

If such disputes are going to be settled in court, that rather cuts the PR out of the process.

Better all round for the flaks to guide the journalists away from libel while letting the truth, or a reasonable opinion, stand.

Just lately, bringing libel claims against media groups and hacks has been a good way for famous rich people to give large sums of money to lawyers *and* worsen their reputations at the same time.

I’m thinking of Johnny Depp against The SunENRC against the FT, and Roman Abramovich against HarperCollins.

What was required in all of these cases was fewer lawyers and more skilful PR people.

Press release of the day

Two thirds of businesses think the metaverse will have a major impact on their organisation.

Yet only a third of the public have even heard of it.

So says this from Accenture, which suggests firms will have to educate customers about what the metaverse is and how it might be of use.

Stories that will keep rolling

1) How hard will the Fed move on rates? Should the Bank of England follow?

2) Is the lockdown book buying boom over at Bloomsbury?

3) How long will Alison Brittain stay at Whitbread?

4) Are we going to see a summer of discontent over executive pay?

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