ITN is suing Two Ten Communications over a press release it
distributed on behalf of Living Marxism magazine on the UNS Newswire
It is the first known case of a PR newswire service being sued for
distributing a press release.
ITN claims the Living Marxism press release, which contained allegations
about ITN’s coverage of the Bosnian conflict, was defamatory.
Two Ten managing director Paul McFarland said: ’We are taking advice as
to whether to defend or seek a settlement.
’Normally all copy is read and checked by journalists for accuracy and
potentially libellous statements. Routinely we go back to clients and
advise them on changes to press releases. On occasions we have refused
to carry press releases. Obviously no procedure is absolutely foolproof
and we are now reviewing our procedures.’
Living Marxism press officer Jan Macvarish said it was the first time
the magazine had used a commercial newswire.
Under the new Defamation Act 1996, distributors have a defence if they
can prove they ’took reasonable care in relation to its publication’ and
’did not know, and had no reason to believe’ that the distribution
’caused or contributed to the publication of a defamatory