Elton John loses Guardian libel case

Another indication that British courts may be steering defamation law away from its highly pro-plaintiff posture of the past: “In a groundbreaking libel decision, the judge said that ‘irony’ and ‘teasing’ do not amount to defamation.” The entertainer Elton John had sued over a spoof “diary” that depicted his involvement in a major AIDS charity as insincere and self-serving.

“It’s significant,” said media law expert Mark Stephens of the ruling. “What [Mr. Justice] Tugendhat has done is move us closer to the US system where you can’t get damages for satire and humour, except in the most exceptional cases.”

(Duncan Campbell, The Guardian, Dec. 13).

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