Nature Publishing Group wins 3-year El Naschie libel trial

Nature Publishing Group wins 3-year El Naschie libel trial

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In the case of Professor Mohammed El Naschie –v- Macmillan Publishers Ltd (trading as Nature Publishing Group) & Mr Quirin Schiermeier, the court has found in favour of Nature Publishing Group (NPG) and Quirin Schiermeier on all defences: justification, honest comment and Reynolds qualified privilege (the public interest/responsible journalism defence).

The judgement was handed down at Bristol Crown Court on Friday 06 July at 09.45am. It states: “My conclusions are that the Article is substantially true, whether one considers the meanings complained of by the Claimant or justified by the Defendants, that it contains comments which are defensible as honest comment, and that it was the product of responsible journalism, so that the defence of Reynolds privilege succeeds.”

Quirin Schiermeier, Senior Reporter at Nature, and second defendant in the trial, says: “This long-awaited judgement takes a huge load off my mind. It is powerful confirmation of the high journalistic standards we apply at Nature. It is also reminder of the value of freedom of speech in civil society.”

Tim Appenzeller, Chief Magazine Editor, Nature says:
“This judgment is a great vindication for Nature’s journalism and for our reporter, Quirin Schiermeier. It leaves no doubt about the care with which the story was reported and edited, and about the importance of this kind of coverage.”

Dr Philip Campbell, Editor-in-Chief, Nature says:
“Nature has vigorously defended this article for over three years and we are all delighted that the court has found our journalism to be honest, justified and in the public interest.”

The original story has been posted online at:
www.nature.com/news/2008/081126/full/456432a.html
The final judgement can be downloaded here (PDF): http://go.nature.com/jjzt1n

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