BIG QUESTION: Who takes legal responsibility for the accuracy of client releases?

ITN is suing Two Ten Communications over a press release it sent on behalf of Living Marxism.

ITN is suing Two Ten Communications over a press release it sent on

behalf of Living Marxism.

Mark Borkowski

Mark Borkowski PR

’It surprises me just how gullible people can be on behalf of their

clients. I have on numerous occasions had to check their statements

before they go out. If one of my clients is making a statement that

might be ambiguous in the eyes of the law it is always wise to check


Helen Marsden

Corixa Communications

’You must always assume that the client knows his business better than

you do so it is important that you make it quite clear that

responsibility for final approval on the accuracy rests with them. It

makes sense to also operate a set of stringent internal double checks,

so anything questionable is spotted before it hits the media.’

Gloria Gibbons

Shire Hall Communications

’We are bound by so many codes of conduct in the area that we work in

that we are well covered. We have actually got an indemnity clause in

every contract. Maybe the industry should have a standard procedure to

protect itself. If we write the press release we have to take every

possible step to check its accuracy.’

Susan Charles

De Facto Consultants

’We have a policy that clients sign off press releases. In signing them

off they accept legal responsibility for the statement. The ultimate

responsibility is with the client to get it right. It’s part of our

contract that clients keep us indemnified against any claims that are

brought against them.’

Jonathan Clare


’We draft much of the material we put out for our clients. Words can

shift share prices so they have to be accurate and truthful. That means

meeting our clients’ obligations under the Stock Exchange and Takeover

Panel rules as well as the libel laws. But even where you are publishing

someone else’s words you should be accountable. Libel is libel and the

fact that you were the distributor rather than the writer is surely no


Alex Sandberg

College Hill

’You must have a good understanding of the contents of a client’s

release as well as input to it. We have rigid copy reading, sign off and

transmission procedures. Where something doesn’t seem right, you have

got to have a good enough relationship to go back to the client and

question it.’

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