Just when Britain’s Fleet Street journalists feel life couldn’t get much grimmer – what with the combination of the kicking they are getting from the Leveson Inquiry into journalism ethics, generally tumbling hard-copy circulation figures and having to run expensive web sites that don’t seem to generate the type of profits the boffins promised – along comes an Irishman to put the boot in even deeper.
London has a reputation of being the libel capital of the world, with film stars, quasi-celebrities, reality television flashes in the pan and Russian oligarchs all flooding to the UK capital to avail themselves of what the media would describe as overly-friendly laws for claimants. So surely there are enough domestic pundits churning out diatribes on this subject.
But Mr Tweed – who is the senior partner at Dublin-based Johnsons Solicitors – reckons there’s room in the market for one more. And to be fair, his firm opened a London outpost about 18 months ago to get a slice of that media litigation pie.
Mr Tweed’s book looks at the emotive arguments in favour of statutory regulation of the press as well as debating whether existing laws protect rather than stifle investigative journalism. Indeed, Mr Tweed writes himself that he has had a four-decade ‘love-hate relationship with the press’, so it will be interesting to see what sort of mainstream coverage – if any – his tome picks up.
In the meantime, he certainly appears to have bagged some Hollywood support, albeit via Ballymena. Liam Neeson – star of Schindler’s List and Michael Collins – ponies up with a testimonial squarely on the cover: ‘It is a must-read in this day and age when so much libel action is front and foremost in today’s press.’