Burger giant under McSpotlight

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The Independent Online
DANNY PENMAN

A new attack against McDonald's was launched on the Internet yesterday, when a site containing more than 1,700 pages of news and information about the company came on-line.

The "McSpotlight" site has been instigated by the "McLibel Two", who are at present fighting a lawsuit for defamation brought by the burger chain.

In the McLibel case, McDonald's alleges Helen Steel and Dave Morris distributed a leaflet that accused the burger chain of exploiting children, the environment and its workers. In addition, the company alleges, the leaflet suggested that its food was linked to heart disease and cancer. The trial, now in its 19th month, is expected to last for another year.

The McSpotlight site contains video clips allegedly linking McDonald's with rainforest destruction, a complete set of McLibel witness statements and scientific papers, guided tours, audio interviews with the McLibel Two, and a McQuiz.

The original leaflet, "What's Wrong With McDonald's", which sparked the court case, can be printed and is available in 17 languages to the 35 million people worldwide who regularly use the Net.

To forestall any possible legal action, the host computer is in the Netherlands, which has less restrictive libel laws than the UK.

Mike Love, a spokesman for McDonald's, said it had no plans to try to close down the Internet site but would carry on with the court case.

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