EDITORIAL: Subtlety a must for litigation PR

The media may often act as judge and jury, and with serious consequences for criminals, as the News of the World’s recent actions show.

The media may often act as judge and jury, and with serious

consequences for criminals, as the News of the World’s recent actions

show.



But phrases such as ’throwing the baby out with the bathwater’ spring to

mind over the news that Tony Martin - the Norfolk farmer who, depending

on your point of view, murdered a teenager or justifiably defended his

property - has sacked his legal team after disagreements on strategy

with his publicist Max Clifford. This comes just a month before his

appeal is due to be heard.



Ironically, the dispute has arisen over an interview arranged without

Clifford’s advice, which Martin believes may have harmed his cause.



Clifford has done a stellar job, winning high-profile support, including

pledges from Tory leader William Hague regarding law reform. He has made

Martin’s case a cause celebre by keeping it on the front pages.



But to what end? Every judge must just look at the evidence. And no

judge in the country wants to make decisions - or be seen to make

decisions - based on what the mass media demands.



Although one industry figure said, in this magazine, that any good

litigation PRO would need a touch of Clifford about them, he also said

the ruthless discretion of Alan Parker would be needed.



If litigation PR is to become an accepted part of corporate culture in

the UK, it will have to become a subtler art than merely winning the

support of the Daily Mail’s leader writers.



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