DUBLIN, IRELAND, February 24, 2015 — /EPR LAW NEWS/ — Over the past few months VML was contacted by Mr Conor Ryan and other reporters working on a programme for RTE, the Irish broadcaster.
It soon became clear that a number of untrue and defamatory allegations – about VML and persons formerly or currently connected with it – would be made in the programme and had already been made to third parties. After VML clearly outlined the correct position to RTE, its lawyers confirmed that the programme and/or its reporting would be “fair and balanced”, “fair, impartial and objective”, “fair to all interests concerned”, “fair and accurate”, “broadcast in good faith” and contain “nothing misleading, unsavoury or malicious” nor any “distortions or untruths”. VML was further assured by RTE’s lawyers that it “adheres to high standards of journalistic ethics” and follows “proper journalistic standards”.
Unfortunately, this did not happen: despite withdrawing many of the untrue and defamatory allegations, when broadcasting its programme on 5th February, RTE retained a number of others.
Accordingly, on 13th February 2015, following the advice of Senior and Junior Counsel, VML issued proceedings against RTE and Mr Ryan. The proceedings are for defamation, procuring a breach of confidence, malicious falsehood and other wrongs, for which aggravated and exemplary damages are sought. It is expected that other parties will issue similar proceedings in the English High Court.
The true position, as previously stated to but ignored by RTE, is as follows:
• In 2004, VML effectively came under the control of the British Government.
• In 2011, VML was sold by the British Government to an English private company.
• In 2014, VML was sold by that English company to its present owner.
• The beneficial owners of VML’s shares and debt are those appearing on the public register.
• VML’s current owner and directors are entirely distinct from the previous owners and directors.
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