Libel damages appeal rejected


By Des Cryan in Dublin

Independent Newspapers has failed in its appeal to the European
Court of Human Rights over a €300,000 (£200,000) libel damages award
made by a jury to the European Parliament deputy Proinsias de Rossa in
1997, following a Sunday Independent article written by Eamon Dunphy.

Independent Newspapers had argued that the size of the award was
disproportionate to the damage suffered and would have a “chilling
effect” on the media.

However, the European Court said almost identical awards had been made in two other cases.

the Strasbourg court gave its judgment, IN managing editor Michael
Denieffe said news reporting in Ireland had been restricted by the
excessive threat of legal action arising from “archaic defamation laws”.

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