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Read this: Carole Cadwalladr v Arron Banks: a victory for press freedom?

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Carole Cadwalladr v Arron Banks: a victo…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts and this is the media show from BBC Radio 4 hello on the show today we're talking to and Dan TV reporter who is now having to cover her face after a taleban leader class month we're going to learn how the climate for journalism in Afghanistan is changing in the month since the Fundamentalist return to power that we're going to start the program with news from the High Court in London and another high-profile libel action on Monday the businessman, Aaron banks, who used some of his fortune to fund the brexit pain group lost is defamation case against the investigative journalist Carole cadwalladr, sued over comments that she had made in a TED talk and on Twitter about his relationship with the Russians against the backdrop of her reporting around the funding of electoral campaigns.

It's a complicated case but the court ruled that in part Carole cadwalladr, had a defence in the public interest early ISA

About her reaction to a case that she was only able to defend thanks for the to the donations of nearly 30000 supporters is there but I think as I think mostly I've been in a days to be honest because I was so braced for the onslaught.

You know I had to be prepared.

You know that I was going to lose and I knew that if I lost I would be facing in absolute barrage of abuse from the kind of like of the media landscape.

Ring me who is judging my work.

My entire professional work over the last 6 years who is judging me as a journalist was judging me as an individual who is judging my ethics and on.

And you know and so waiting for that has been you know a Sword of Damocles there's no doubt about that and you give evidence in court obviously for I think the best part of 3 days.

What was that experience like you say you're being judged and there you are in that you know effectively taking the stand to defend yourself you were the defendant.

I mean is it's it's such a I mean.

I think it's only if you've given evidence that you can understand it in that because it's inquisitorial.

It's you know the entire legal process is setup to be adversarial.

So you have somebody you had a QC who is there to ask you you know very tightly bound questions and he's trying to break you down and he is trying to break your credibility so the first two and a half days was all about trying to remind me under my my reputation undermine my journalism and my my gender process and undermine my ethics and you know it Coleman said it Coleman ated in a moment on the third day when you know I consider it was an attempt to sexually shame me in The Witness

I said that on Twitter in a tweet with Twitter which accuse me of sleeping with her fellow journalist and I was so taken aback you know why this was being done that you know and I turn to the judge and I said that I thought this was being done to shame and humiliation humiliation was do with me being a woman and you know we're German for lunch at that points and you know a lawyer a very experienced libel solicitor said to me that you know it was the most aggressive and examination that you'd ever seen you know lost.

I had a lot of people turn out support me and there are a number of women in the courtroom had had you know been in had to go violent relationships and they found it almost impossible to watch that they said that you know for them it felt very clearly like a kind of a form of bullying and

It was licenced by our legal system.

You know it was done with the full weight of the court machinery behind it and yeah, so it was it was it was very probably difficult to cope with it very well.

I found it distressing I really did and more broadly.

What do you think the toll has been on you know you as soon as an individual the toll been on you personally.

I'm going through this on every kind of aspects of my life and it is silence me.

You know very effectively during this period and it's taking up so much of my time so much national energy.

There's one thing we all know.

Workout presumably were facing huge costs for me.

It was the being single out as an individual single out as an individual.

I had previously sent the Observer had published the same allegations in almost identical words that is in the judgement, so the judge says that in the judgement.

She says the allegations almost exactly the same words were published in the Observer and then you know I said them at this TED conference in Vancouver which was hosted by TED which is very big Media organisation you know there was no letter ever since Ted and you know the Observer there was no action taken against them it was just about picking me off as an individual and the judge in the judgement does say Aaron banks was in his attempt to seek vindication was just about it was legitimate.

Have one 2 million pounds to spare you can use our legal system to do so that's what it set up to do because what kind of costs were you facing what kind of course will you face was it bad? If you've lost went into court I walked through the door of the court knowing that if I lost I need to find a thing as an extra half a million pounds and it wasn't like you know I like crowdfunding more at that point.

I was like my reputation is going to be if I've lost my reputation going to be in tatters going to have this judgement against me the money wasn't even the worst thing about it.

I just want to make that point because it's the only point that people understanding that that's very serious.

You know exactly my home is at risk and I'll have to go back because it's all the stuff but actually it was this it was much more like this existential assault it was the destruction of me as

Because it's the destruction of me my professional reputation my career.

You know future ability to work as a journalist that was the thing which was on the line and that was the thing which felt you know so sort of terrifying as those and a very very difficult thing to deal with I imagine this judgement makes clear you said something that was the point you said that you thought it was true some people are saying effectively makes it ok for journalists to publish full suit without penalty.

What do you say to that which the judge came up with a running a truth defence you have to come up with one meaning of all the possible meanings and judge saying he came up with his own meaning which went far further than which is why I couldn't therefore defend that on truth, but in the in the judgement the judge accepts that the test is about what was it was real.

Belief based upon what time you so in that sense is not a question of Truth at this point and if you read the judgement, I mean what the most amazing thing about judgement is and what actually I think people outside is probably won't even realise I was quite shocked and sort of blown away when I read it yesterday the fruit forensic of the facts, but the judge did in the even though it wasn't the truth defence she looked at everything and she went and she is this what she thought was the true state of affairs.

She said it's highly inaccurate what he said that there was one boozy lunch with the Russian ambassador and she lifts for which she says definitely let you know they seem to be good and then she knows about the ones as well as reasonable grounds to believe also I could you know it's a historic document I think in which the relationship of the main funder of the brexit campaign.

The Russian government his meetings with the official representative of the Russian government during this period when he was campaigning for brexit is now in a document judge has looked at with this amazing Lee brilliantly forensic.

I and has set it all down in black and white what you gone through this experience of the last few years.

Do you think is an investigative journalist it will change how you approach your work in future.

How I approach my work in future.

It's taken you too then think right.

I'm going to keep going away have always gone you know forensically and quite rightly I'm in cleaning jobs with anyway, but I just wondered whether the toll of it on you personally will affect you know your bravery or have you want to approach your work going forward journalistic mean the season and now we've got that as case law I mean and it you know it must and should make everybody braver, but that does exist in law and the money which is involved in resource in the fact that you know that's another matter and that's why the lawn needs to be reformed, but you know that has been such timidity around the reporting of these issues not least from.

I'm one of the most shocking aspects of it for me is the fact that on 3 out of 5 days in that courtroom that was not a single Court reporter.

They're the only Court reporting that was done of the trial was from the Guardian if you've got a court if you got a trial ok, which is this is the biggest political thunder doughnut British history and once before Russia invade Ukraine there is a trial in which his relationship with the Russian government.

Is you know in public new documents are brought forward and yet the British press does not report upon a word of it.

I mean that's pretty amazing and now like what is amazing.

It's been great to see you.

That is finally being covered in places including the BBC but that you know the BBC's coverage of it is very marginal.

And it doesn't include anything of this detail from the judgement at all and yeah, sorry you don't mind me saying that you can say what you like Carole cadwalladr.

Thank you so much and as for the ping a few emails at in that interview where I was talking to Carol Carol Oliver and joining me now is Sarah Palin a barrister without history chamber specialises in media law Sarah welcome to the media show what is your reaction to this case first of all an important public information that the defence can but it's not the tests within the defence not going to be applied so strictly that it says no practical use for journalists and the allowance will be made for editorial judgement and the realities of it is incredibly complicated this case but can you pick it up on ticket for us if you like? What did the judge actually decide what you will about?

question by the public interest which for leaders your listeners may also defence at trial was the question that the issue of serious harm, which was introduced in 2013 that the claimants to get their claim off the ground so to speak need to be able to prove that the allegations that have been published have caused or are likely to cause serious issues for trial and what the judge decided was that firstly in relation to miss good one of us defence secretary for Defence initially seeded and it succeeded until there was a point where substantial change of circumstances brought about by the Electoral Commission issued a statement and that if I

The statement which stated that the Electoral Commission accepted that conclusions of the National Crime Agency had been investigating Mr Banks as donations to the leave campaign No criminal offences committed by Mr Banks that there was no evidence of funding by foreigners in breach of foreign funding in breach of electoral law when she was covered by public interest defence that decision she wasn't to the defence feliway.

That's right, but she didn't choose the action on that basis, because then the judge then deduct the question of serious harm at that point again assessing it again having originally found that when it was first had a serious harm threshold requirement, but then when that substantial change of circumstances brought about by the Electoral Commission the judge then really looked at the question serious harm and found that the

Continue to be published online in an online archive with no longer causing serious harm to Mr Banks reputation and I'm back basis of the one that we had quite a lot about these so-called slap cases strategic lawsuits against public participation which in a people say I used to intimidate the likes of journalists, what's the Polish now the judge clearly in this found that it wasn't a slap case and Aaron banks talks about saying that he was pleased the judge make clear my turn to see vindication wasn't was legitimate that was neither fair nor app to describe.

This is a slap suit he says quite right this was never about seeking to silence criticism Carol knows that she apologised and agreed not to repeat this false accusation at the outset these proceedings never have been necessary.

What's your view on this whole issue of whether actually just when it comes to libel cases just the Threat of them is enough to discourage a journalist.

Yes, I'm leaving aside Mr Banks is motivation here Mr body makes it has makes a good point when she says that the the cost the risk of costs, but she's based in it was so vast that it's having a chilling effect on Germany and basically unfair financial pressure is be to buy well-funded claiming on public interest journalism and democracy is for it because she's one of many voices for making this point that the rule that the losing party has to pay the winners cost that she was going to possibly Soho machine off this case demonstrates that demonstrates the menu that the price is too high at the cost of having a chilling effect on public interest after the interview she told me she.

Be grateful for the people many thousands of them who donated money to her cause is crowdfunding your defence and Innovation that we might see more of do you think I'm going to leave if there's not going to be reform of the costs or the substantive dairy expenses in this area and it seems it seems wrong to me that a German is saying that they weren't able to bring these defences to trial if they had beans have something and this is journalist accepted was very much in the public interest that the public should learn about what I think about Aaron banks is coming on Twitter that leaves open to jail listing of the say what they want without evidence and not get punished understanding of the public interest defence because there's not only the first tested whether the material the podcast TED Talk is on a matter of public interest.

Add a reason I believe that the public interest was served by publishing this material and lastly it's whether that believe was reasonable and the last test which is obviously they usually always the case is an objective test so the judge carefully go through all the enquiries of steps taken by the journalist what they knew what they could have no what day the invitations they made to the subject to comment and what they did with the material in presenting their material and very carefully goes through it to decide whether it was reasonably so I don't think it's a case.

It's a free pass the rarity of journalists managing to establish this defence demonstrates that it is it is difficult test it might not be the last of it.

He has said he's going to appeal but very very interesting what you said.

Thank you so much.

Thanks for coming on the

Now you may have missed this story, but last month Afghanistan taleban rules began enforcing an order requiring all female TV news presenters to cover their faces while they're on there is the insurance is given by the Taliban less than a year ago that women wouldn't be discriminated against in the new Afghanistan were untrue.

I'm joined by Sana Safi a journalist at BBC Pashto which brought into Afghanistan from London before the BBC was banned by the Taliban along with other international media and by Farida a presenter with tolo news Afghanistan First 24-hour news channel if I could start with you welcome.

Thank you so much for coming on the media.

Show can you describe how you learn that you must cover your face on there and how that felt so much pleasure to the USS

New Order of the office the announcement of the TV presenter on the screen morning the time, they was difficult for us and female and disappointed but female colleagues.

This is very difficult we are presenting problems with the word correctly.

Speak now or this this is very difficult decision impact and very difficult decision for us decided to and we will be fighting we can do it and now just trying to just be ok.

Just before we keep talking to you.

I'm going to bring in Santa suffer from.

BBC Pashto what have you heard about the effect? This is having on women TV presenters in Afghanistan sorry that was talking so eloquently their women have been telling me that is very hard to breathe while they're on the months of the weather is really warm in Afghanistan these days.

There are officers are not air-conditioned most of them the transport of the use it becomes really difficult for them to be to get to work and then while they're there are expected to cover their faces, so it's very hard for them to breathe to them cover but wider implications are serious because some women have decided to stay at home completely leave their jobs.

The ones who still go are really debating why they're doing.

They're doing whether it's even worth it and the ones that I've spoken to you for considering leaving the field.

They are worried about the society is a hole in the wall.

The only place you see professional women at the moment are the future TV channels that women are still presenting on because the rest of society has really become a man on Lee please women are at home.

So they worried about what the closing the cues that are given to other people the children were growing up man were watching TV not seeing women and how that might impact the relationship of men to women children towards women but the whiter attitudes towards women in some of the stereotype that women have been struggling and fighting against for so long and these are the things that I think will become clearer in the future, but they are very soon.

What is the risks of you speaking to us about this not time-consuming about that.

I love my

about these something about our lives lives and even the future of Media baby did the taleban what's the female journalist Afghanistan International

Sorry to interrupt.

I just want to tell you afraid, what's it doing to you? There is no room for discussions to develop an efficient top with international Communities around the world around the people should be here and responsibility to the oldest living in Kabul who are working covered.

My life is not safe like when I leave my

In my house, maybe someone will become and he will be telling me just because I'm talking with for me.

You are very hard to do so very very very brave.

I was going to just bring Sana in towards the end.

Just to say sorry does talking about the pressure needs to come from the international media, but it's got to be said there's not a great deal of reporter Afghanistan going on setting in the UK at the moment.

Do you think the caravan Fields that can act with impunity because there's not a great deal of scrutiny going on the king of the Afghan coverage everytime or every day when I wake up the first thing.

I look at is a Google the word Afghanistan and there is nothing usually written by anybody that you read the weather you're feeling so it is very limited on the international stage.

There is no reporting whatever you do see on Google or on public.

Engines they come from sources that you can't trust so there is a blackout a media blackout and most activist as well as media workers inside the country.

They worry that this provides a perfect round for the Taliban for those who believe they can carry out whatever they want to carry out a way from the guys of the meteor the world to watch and the only thing that has changed dramatically in Afghanistan ever since the taleban takeover is the use of user generated content so people ordinary afghans take to film videos to share what they see and that has then I made it to the mainstream international media.

Ok? That's brilliant.

I'm going to have to wrap it up.

Thank you to all my guests to Carole cadwalladr, award-winning investigative journalist for the Guardian in the Observer Sarah Palin is a barrister Doughty Street chambers fairy design presenter with Afghanistan tolo news and Sana Safi from

The media show will be back at the same time next week but for now.

Thank you so much for listening goodbye.

Transcriptions done by Google Cloud Platform.

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