Spiked says, “Libel law is a bogus excuse for justice”:
It is bad enough to be sued for expressing an opinion, under a libel law which reverses the burden of truth and insists that the defendant must prove he is telling the truth. It is far worse to find yourself expected to defend not just the words you used, but whatever a judge says that someone may have interpreted your words to mean, regardless of what you might say. (…)
In our case, held before Justice Morland in 2000, the court ruled that the real meaning of the LM article written by the German journalist Thomas Deichmann was that ITN and its journalists had ‘deliberately’ misrepresented the situation at the camp. This was despite the fact that Deichmann never used that word, or suggested that they had done so.
We were thus left having to prove, not only what they might have done in 1992, but what they might have been thinking at the time. As I pointed out, this seemed impossible without the aid of a time machine and a mind reader. We were left with virtually no chance of winning, although the trial established that the central fact in Deichmann’s article – that the barbed wire fence through which those pictures were shot surrounded the journalists themselves – was true. ‘But, does it matter?’ the judge memorably commented. And the answer was no, it did not, once we were asked to prove the unproveable.