July 28, 2011

McLibel


"McDonald's loved using the UK libel laws to suppress criticism. Major media organisations like the BBC and The Guardian crumbled and apologised. But then they sued gardener Helen Steel and postman Dave Morris (for handing out flyers in an attempt to raise awareness on many issues concerning McDonald's) In the longest trial in English legal history, the "McLibel Two" represented themselves against McDonald's £10 million legal team. Every aspect of the corporation's business was cross-examined: from junk food and McJobs, to animal cruelty, environmental damage and advertising to children. Outside the courtroom, Dave brought up his young son alone and Helen supported herself working nights in a bar. McDonald's tried every trick in the book against them. Legal manoeuvres. A visit from Ronald McDonald. Top executives flying to London for secret settlement negotiations. Even spies. Seven years later, in February 2005, the marathon legal battle finally concluded at the European Court of Human Rights. And the result took everyone by surprise - especially the British Government. McLibel is not just about hamburgers. It is about the importance of freedom of speech now that multinational corporations are more powerful than countries. Filmed over ten years by no-budget Director Franny Armstrong, McLibel is the David and Goliath story of two people who refused to say sorry." (Summary sourced from IMDB

This is the cover of the pamphlet Steel and Morris were caught handing out


In 2005, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in Steel & Morris v United Kingdom that the pair had been denied a fair trial, in breach of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights and that their conduct should have been protected. This judgement put to rest Morris and Steel's 20-year battle with McDonald's.

Thankfully, Barbados is one of the only countries in the world where McDonald's has failed. The golden arches are nowhere to be seen in this paradise! It was introduced in the early 1990's but Bajans' preference for Chicken and a cheap meal from Chefette forced this conglomerate out of the island. 
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