, 13 tweets, 8 min read Read on Twitter
The British legal system is rigged against investigative journalism. The wealthy use our courts neuter stories that have been published without hindrance in the US or France or Italy. The work ⁦@carolecadwalla⁩ has done is of huge public benefit gofundme.com/f/democracy-th…
@carolecadwalla Here’s why I use the word rigged. In recent years, I’ve done a series of collaborations with media around the world, all publishing the same stories on the same day. These include the #PanamaPapers, the #ParadisePapers and #TheDaphneProject.
@carolecadwalla When the moment comes to confront the subjects of our stories, it’s always the same pattern. Approahced by media outside the UK, the politicians, plutocrats and professional enablers usually come back with an on the record statement for publication.
@carolecadwalla In the UK it’s another story. When the Guardian asks for a response, we typically receive a reply not from the person concerned, but from a London libel firm, threatening legal action if we publish.
@carolecadwalla The UK isn’t the only place where this happens, of course. But the environment is harsher here than in other big democracies like Italy, France and the US.
@carolecadwalla Usually, these threats do not stop us. But the conclusions we draw from our evidence are often muted. We cannot make allegations as clearly as many of our colleagues abroad can. And that is a huge disservice to our readers.
@carolecadwalla Here’s an example from the Daphne Project. It’s actually a comparison between a story published not by the Guardian but by Reuters, from London, and the same story published in France, by Le Monde.
@carolecadwalla Look at the headline on the Reuters piece. uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mal…
@carolecadwalla Now compare that to the headline in Le Monde (I’ve included a translation).
lemonde.fr/projet-daphne/…
@carolecadwalla Both stories are based on the same evidence, gathered by the fantastic @StephenGrey at Reuters and @BorgJake JacobBorg at the Times of Malta.
@carolecadwalla @StephenGrey @BorgJake While Le Monde felt able to conclude the evidence unearthed by Reuters pointed to corruption, Reuters had to be more cautious. The word corruption does not appear in the Reuters story.
@carolecadwalla @StephenGrey @BorgJake In France, the claimant in a libel case must prove what was published was false. In the UK, the burden is on the journalist to prove what they wrote was true. That might sound fair, but it makes a huge difference.
@carolecadwalla @StephenGrey @BorgJake Of course the subject of any report deserves fair and balanced treatment. And of course Britain has many strong, influential media outlets. But it seems to me the scales have tipped too far in favour of those who can afford expensive legal teams.
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