It's been a few days now since the news that Robert Murrat has accepted £550K in damages from a combination of every British tabloid for the disgraceful stories published about him over the last year or so. And I have spent a few days pondering it. Many bloggers including Obsolete and The Enemies of Reason have welcomed the verdict and indeed the verdict itself must be welcomed. For an ordinary person to win in the libel courts buck a worrying trend whereby the press seem to be able to get away with printing what they want.
However, what are the consequences?
£550K. Between 11 papers. including the Sun, Mirror, Mail and Express. £50k for each of them. That is a piss in the ocean for all of them. It will be of absolutely no consequence. It will be of no deterrent to do it again. The tabloids shifted millions of extra copies over the Madeline McCann affair and continue to do so. The press could do this again and will because they have more to gain then they will ever lose. No one was sacked, no individual was made to stand to account for the damage done to Murat's reputation.
Even now search for him on the daily Mail website and what do you come up with? Not one story about him winning in the libel courts, instead all the smears and lies are dragged up again.
There has been no printed apology in any of these papers, not one, nowhere.
So no consequences for the tabloids, no attempt to put things right in terms of publicly apologising in a form that their readers will see and no deterrent to not do it again.
And yet Murat has allegedly won.
What a total disgrace.