Are the British aiming to squash free speech? Robert Murat, an official suspect in the Madeleine McCann case, has settled his libel case against several British newspapers for overconnecting him to her disappearance with headlines like "Sex Secret of Madeleine Suspect: Briton ‘Shared’ the Wife of Pool Cleaner at Villa." His pay out is thought to be close to $1 million. Murat lived close to location where Madeleine disappeared and was named the first formal suspect though he's denied any involvement in her disappearance last May.
Some consider the decision great.
Murat was libelled. Not once, but many times over. Scores of reports, and many headlines too, defamed him . . . he was often treated not as a suspect by papers but as a culprit . . . papers have been pushing at the boundaries of the British contempt rule for years. More is published about British crime suspects in advance of their being charged (and sometimes afterwards) than was ever the case 20 years ago. Why? Because they have got away with it.
Seems reasonable right? Accuse a guy of killing a little girl in the papers, pay a fine? Well, this free speech and freedom of the press issue doesn't stay on UK soil — British libel laws have a passport. To see how, read more