BBC wins battle over climate show
Monday 31 January 2011
The BBC has fought off a High Court challenge to tonight's broadcast of a documentary about climate change sceptics.
Lord Monckton had applied to Mr Justice Tugendhat for an injunction stopping the programme being shown until it included his right of reply.
He said that he felt he had been "unreasonably treated and misled" and complained of breach of contract.
He told the judge in London that he wanted the programme, Meet The Climate Sceptics, to include his 500 words or three minutes which, he said, was proportionate in the context of a 60-minute film almost exclusively about him.
"What I'm not trying to do is extinguish the BBC's right to freedom of speech.
"I was for many years myself a journalist and it is not appropriate to say a programme should not be broadcast. I am merely asking for a right to reply to which I say I am entitled."
He said it was the least remedy that would meet the case as the damage to his reputation would otherwise be "grave".
Desmond Browne QC, for the BBC, production company Fresh One Productions Ltd and film maker Rupert Murray, said that changes had been made to the film in the light of Lord Monckton's concerns about accuracy and bias.
He told the court that the October 2010 contract provided for absolute editorial control by Fresh One and the BBC, there had been advance publicity for tonight's broadcast and it would be problematic to show it at another time.
He said that an injunction should not be granted as, though "dressed up" as a claim in contract, the real complaint was one of defamation.
The judge refused the application on the basis that the agreement on which Lord Monckton relied lacked the clarity which he submitted it had.
The "balance of justice" also favoured its refusal, he added.
The programme filmed Lord Monckton over past year as he travelled across Australia and the US challenging the proposition that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes climate change and global warming.
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