Archive for July, 2010

Metro’s cage rattled by spoof

Posted in Uncategorized on Sunday, 4 July, 2010 by bristolnoborders

Despite copies being sent to Bristol, we haven’t recieved them…the  below probably explains why…

For immediate release:
Metro’s cage rattled by spoof

4 July 2010

The Metro has obtained a High Court injunction against “all persons
responsible for the publication and/or distribution” of a Metro spoof
paper that was distributed by campaigners at London tube stations on
Friday morning. But since the spoof was produced and distributed
anonymously, the injunction seems to have been served upon the wrong
people, in what appears to be a guilty-by-association verdict.

The spoof paper, which has also been circulated on the web, has a similar
masthead and layout to the free daily, with a zero instead of the O.  The
owners of Metro, Associated Newspapers Limited, claim this is an
infringement of the company’s trademark copyrights, while campaigners
argue the company directors “do not have a sense of humour” and have “gone
too far in suppressing free speech to protect their commercial interests.”

Under the headline “Gordon Brown to be deported to Scotland,” the front
frontpage story claimed the former prime minister was facing imminent
removal back to his “home country,” as the new coalition government
introduced new immigration rules that imposed further restrictions on
“non-English nationals.” Alongside the article, a manipulated picture
showed Gordon Brown being arrested by two policemen at a beer festival in

Tens of thousands of copies of the spoof paper were distributed by 50 or
so people wearing white T-shirts bearing the Metro logo during rush hour
at 20 busy stations around the capital. The ‘spoofing operation’ was
apparently part of ‘two days of action against racist press’, called by a
coalition of anti-racist and migrant rights groups under the name Press
Action. A blog bearing the same name had been set up about a month before,
with the aim of “exposing and taking action against racist and
anti-migrant bias in mainstream media.” [1]

The callout for the days of action, circulated around various campaign
websites and mailing lists, had called upon “all concerned groups and
individuals to stand up to counter fear with action on the 2nd and 3rd
July” and “put the racist press in the spotlight” by taking “autonomous,
decentralised actions and protests against racist press across the UK.”

Represented by Bird & Bird LLP, Associated Newspapers sought a High Court
injunction until 10:30am on Monday, ordering the respondents to “not
publish or distribute in any way (including by way of the Internet) any
publication which purports to be ‘Metro’ or any other publication of the
applicant.” The legal action seems to have stemmed from an assumption that
the spoof might be distributed again on Saturday, which turned out to be
unfounded speculation and a waste of judges’ time.

A copy of the injunction order was subsequently sent by Katharine Stephens
of Bird & Bird to the people running the Press Action blog [3], presuming
they were behind the spoof. A statement by Press Action, however, said
they “had nothing to do with the publication and distribution of the
spoof” and had merely received an electronic copy from the anonymous
spoofers, along with a press release [4], which they then circulated and
posted on their blog.