A brilliant documentary about the McLibel trial will be shown on BBC2 tomorrow (Sunday 4th June) at 10:30pm. I saw it a couple of months ago on BBC4 and it really is far more interesting than any documentary about a legal case should be.
For those of you who don’t know about the case, here’s a quick rundown: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4266741.stm
Essentially: Two campaigners produce a leaflet accusing McDonald’s of all kinds of nasty things. McDonald’s weren’t very happy about this and took them to court, expecting the two to roll over and beg. Despite there, at the time, being no legal aid for people in libel cases (a law which has now been changed as a result of the McLibel trial) the two decided to fight their case… And, from a very valid perspective, won.
There were multiple issues involved, and the two won on the most important ones, and probably should have on a couple of others, but were still ordered to pay damages. Not surprisingly, after the amount of negative press they received for the trial, McDonald’s has made no effort to collect the fine.
It’s a story that is just so improbable that if it were not for the facts would seem too far-fetched to be true. But it is true. Watch the documentary, and decide (if you already haven’t) that you never want to let that junk in your system.
Here’s some feedback from the BBC4 showing a while back: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/yoursay/mclibel.shtml