Lord McAlpine's BBC Settlement Is Just The Start, 'Twitter Trial' Looms
Lord McAlpine's wrongful accusation by the BBC of being involved in the North Wales Child abuse scandal has lead to a £185,000 settlement with the corporation, but that has just signalled the beginning of a long and winding road of lawsuits, it seems.
Lord McAlpine said he was "delighted" to have reached a quick and early settlement. In a statement reported by The Independent, he said, "I have been conscious that any settlement will be paid by the licence fee-payers, and have taken that into account in reaching agreement with the BBC," he added."We will now be continuing to seek settlements from other organisations that have published defamatory remarks and individuals who have used Twitter to defame me." Lawyers for the Tory peer, who used to be an advisor to the divisive Margaret Thatcher, warned Twitter users 'we know who you are' and urged them to come forward voluntarily or face being pursued through the courts in a messy legal bout. One of the primary targets, the Daily Mail reports, is Sally Bercow, who tweeted, "Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*." In response to the knowledge that she may face action for her tweeting, she tweeted again... saying, "Thanks for letting me know...Gulps. I guess I'd better get some legal advice then. Still maintain was not a libellous tweet - just foolish... Best not comment any more til seen a lawyer."
The whole debacle represents a historic low point for the BBC; once a British institution, the tax-payer-run corporation is in a period of disenfranchisement and mistrust following a long list of blunders surrounding child abuse and it's lack of succinct and accurate coverage.