Amsterdam - Helsinki - Auckland - Pittsburgh - Adelaide

In what has been an incredible year, since its launch on the 16th Feb 1996, McSpotlight has been showered with praise and international media attention (including front page of USA Today). It has been accessed over 7 million times, and will this week will quadruple in size. There is nothing McDonald's can do to end their nightmare - McSpotlight is still here, uncensored and unstoppable, the final nail in the coffin of McDonald's global censorship strategy.

Don't wait for the court verdict

The McLibel Trial ended in December '96 after 313 days in court. All that is left is the verdict, which is expected in April or May. Whatever the judge's personal opinion, the public should have access to the information to enable them to judge for themselves. McSpotlight was created for this reason.

(from Sunday 16th Feb)

McSpotlight has made available all 313 days of the official court transcripts, an estimated 19,000 pages (around 50mb of data). Presented, and indexed in full:

  • Opening Speeches.
  • Testimony and cross-examination of every witness, including corporate executives.
  • Legal controversies and submissions.
  • Closing speeches, including the six week summary of the evidence against McDonald's.

    McDonald's legal team didn't make a closing speech but instead presented their closing argument as a five volume, 500 page document - perhaps attempting to ensure that no report of their arguments would be possible. McInformation Network volunteers have scanned the entire document and it is now available on McSpotlight. As a result, both sides of the argument are available online so that everyone can judge for themselves.

    Putting this historic record and resource on the Internet - for journalists, researchers, law students, campaigners and members of the public - is an unprecedented move and a graphic demonstration of just how thoroughly issues can be covered on the world's most powerful global medium.



    When launched one year ago, McSpotlight contained 1,300 files (about 30mb of data) and was considered huge - 'the most comprehensive source of information on a multinational corporation ever assembled'. Now the size of the site is around 100mb and contains over 4,000 files. On a web site this size, finding specific information can be tricky. To solve this problem, McSpotlight has installed a powerful search engine from UK software company 'Muscat'. It is the same system used by Reuters, the Electronic Telegraph and the Greenpeace Web Sites. The intelligent interface takes search requirements in the form of plain English and learns from the user in order to improve its own performance. The addition of the Muscat search engine greatly improves the ease of access to the information contained in the depths of the site, and reinforces McSpotlight's reputation for making innovative use of the latest technology.

    International Campaigns -

    There are active campaigns against McDonald's in many countries around the globe. These campaigns generate and add to people's interest in and concern about the issues relating to McDonald's. McSpotlight provides a clearinghouse for information relating to these campaigns and provides resources for campaigners around the world. The leaflet "What's Wrong With McDonald's?" has been translated into over a dozen languages, with more becoming available all the time. McDonald's has been instrumental in realising it's own worst nightmare. The McLibel case has completely backfired for McDonald's and McSpotlight has smashed the company's attempt to silence its critics.

    Residents Against McDonald's -

    McSpotlight contains a rapidly growing section covering past and present campaigns against the unwelcome expansion into local communities by McDonald's. Information is provided to assist effective objections to planning applications etc and to aid local campaigning. Sample letters, leaflets and petitions are available, as well as media coverage relating to residents' battles with the fast-food giant.

    Exclusive Interviews -

    The McLibel Trial has seen internationally renowned people enter the witness box. Professor Colin Campbell (author of the seminal 'China Study' on the links between diet and cancer); Stephen Gardner (ex-Assistant Attorney General of Texas); and Charles Secrett (Executive Director of Friends of the Earth UK) are just some of those who testified. Now McSpotlight has exclusive interviews with them. Mike Mansfield QC joins Fran Tiller (the spy who defected to the Defence from the McDonald's camp) in the interview booth.

    New Mirror down under -

    To thawrt censorship, McSpotlight is currently hosted on computers in four countries. During the last twelve months, people around the world have offered to host yet more mirror sites in case McSpotlight is threatened with censorship. McSpotlight's servers receive massive global interest - the Auckland mirror was so overwhelmed that it had to close its doors to all but those people within New Zealand. Now, in order to cater for the expected increase in interest around the time of the verdict, McSpotlight has fired up a new mirror site. Based in Australia - the hosts Virtual Artists are holding a party to celebrate the launch and McSpotlight's 1st anniversary. Check it out 'live' via 'VA Robocam' ( - a remote controlled Internet video camera.

    "Witty site chock full of fascinating details. Everything McDonald's doesn't want you to know. Pay it a visit while you still can."
    Internet Today, July 1996

    "There, for anyone who cares to log on, is 'McSpotlight' ..Every testimony against the company, every revelation, every blunder and admission has turned up on international 'mirror' sites so they cannot be wiped....the ultimate anti-McDonald's experience"
    The Guardian, March 9 1996

    "By distributing their criticism… over the Internet, to which more than 50 million people around the world have access, the web page's sponsors hope to stimulate debate about what is 'fair comment' and wht is libel."
    The Chicago Sun Times; 1996
    "It is claimed to be 'the most comprehensive source of information on a multinational corporation ever assembled' - and that doesn't sound like an exaggeration."
    The Guardian, 22nd February 1996

    "Spare a thought for the judge. In McSpotlight, the case is neatly laid out, with hypertext links making everything accessible and easy to follow. All he has is a pen and endless notebooks."
    New Statesman; July 1996