UK LIBEL LAWS TO BE CHALLENGED AT McLIBEL PRE-APPEAL HEARING IN JULY - In July the McLibel Defendants will be in court once again to challenge the use of libel laws as a form of censorship, and to overturn the parts of the verdict which went against them. They will present their Appeal application in a pre-Appeal hearing at the High Court, which will be followed up by a full hearing beginning on January 12th 1999. They also intend to take the British Government to the European Court of Human Rights to overturn the UK's unfair and oppressive libel laws - challenging the denial of Legal Aid and the right to a jury trial, and laws stacked in favour of Plaintiffs. They will argue that multinational corporations should no longer be allowed to sue for libel.
THE CONTROVERSY CONTINUES - McDonald's continue to expand, and they continue to exploit children and low-paid staff, promote junk food, cause animal suffering and environmental damage. The global campaign against them carries on growing. And the 'McLibel' Trial, the longest and one of the most controversial in English history, still shines as an example of how the business practices of a huge multinational can be exposed to public view, despite oppressive and unfair censorship laws. The hour-long documentary "McLibel: Two Worlds Collide" tells the inside story of the case. Filmed over three years, with courtroom reconstructions directed by Ken Loach and exclusive access to the defendants' lives, it would clearly make a very popular peak-time documentary. But two proposed UK transmissions were blocked by lawyers at the BBC and Channel 4 and the film is currently available only on video and on the internet (www.spanner.org/mclibel) - so media censorship still thrives. It has already been shown on regional TV in the US, and broadcasts in other countries are currently being negotiated.
KEEPING UP THE PRESSURE - As the Appeal is being prepared, the McLibel Support Campaign calls for international leafletting protests, and local showings of the documentary around Friday June 19th 1998 (one year since the trial verdict was delivered and our Victory Day of Action was celebrated by the distribution of half a million leaflets in about 20 countries). There have already been many showings in the UK, Ireland, the US, Holland, Hong Kong, and New Zealand. To protest at UK media censorship and burial of the documentary, we call on activists to organise local burials (at appropriate key sites) of the tape in time capsules to ensure that generations to come will have a chance to know some of what happened during this historic battle. Please organise something around this date, try to get publicity and also please let us know how you get on! (We encourage those organising local showings of the documentary to order 5 to 10 copies of the video for people attending. Available from One Off Productions [0171 247 8881]. #13 each waged, #10 unwaged to Oops, BCM Oops, London WC1N3XX.
ORDERING LEAFLETS: "What's Wrong With McDonald's?" leaflets, and special leaflets for children and McDonald's workers, can be ordered from MSC for those living in Greater London (cheques to 'McLibel Support Campaign'). If you live outside Greater London, please order leaflets from: Veggies, 180 Mansfield Road, Nottingham NG1 3HW Tel 0115 958 5666 (Cheques to "Veggies Ltd"). The cost of leaflets is £8 per 600, £12 per 1,000, £16 per 1,500 [or what you can afford]. Please feel free to copy our leaflets or produce your own. Artwork can be obtained from MSC, Veggies, or from the McSpotlight website:
OCTOBER PROTESTS - don't forget to leaflet local McDonald's stores also on October 12th (International Day of Solidarity With McDonald's Workers) and October 16th (the World Day of Action Against McDonald's).
Note: A fully referenced version of the current "What's Wrong With McDonald's?" leaflet is also available from MSC. It backs up every sentence in the leaflet with a reference to authoritative sources or documentary or oral evidence from the trial. Much of this evidence is in the form of admissions from McDonald's own witnesses, including top executives, or from company documents.
WEEKLY MEETINGS - For those living in or near London, there are open meetings of London Greenpeace and the McLibel Support Campaign every Thursday from 7pm. Please come along if you wish to find out more about the group and/or would like to become involved. Meetings take place at 5 Caledonian Rd, N1.
McLIBEL LISTSERVER - This is an internet service which distributes the latest McLibel information by e-mail. To subscribe, send the e-mail message "subscribe mclibel" to:
RESOURCES FOR CAMPAIGNERS - as well as info on the McLibel Trial and general campaigning materials, we have more specialised information (for example, resource packs for local residents wishing to oppose a McDonald's planning application). We now have available a CD-Rom of the McSpotlight website, and there is also ‘McLibel: Burger Culture On Trial’ (from Pan books, #5.99)
................ please organise a local event! ................