14 March 2006
News International looks to blame anyone but themselves
The gay news website, PinkNews.co.uk, that suggested the footballer Ashley Cole (pictured) was the alleged subject of News of the World story has been warned it could face legal action from the paper. PinkNews.co.uk discussed the News of the World story and internet rumours speculating on the identity of the individuals concerned. It also reproduced a pixelated version of a photograph used by the News of the World that claimed to be of a Premiership footballer and a well-known music industry figure, comparing it with a photograph showing Cole and DJ Masterstepz at a party. Lawyers acting for the News of the World told PinkNews.co.uk that the paper and its stablemate the Sun were reserving their rights to issue proceedings against the website under the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978. This could potentially involve the website in the libel action brought by Cole against the papers.
This seems to be a straightforward case of News International sulking over the fact that they are being sued for printing a scandalous story even though they didn’t publish any names and are now looking for someone else to blame. Much of the newspaper’s content is based on innuendos and rumours and if they lose this case it could have major ramifications for the tabloid newspaper industry as a whole. The PinkNews.co.uk was guilty of nothing except exploring the story that the News of the World printed and unless Cole’s lawyers want to bring them into the proceedings News International should face up to the consequences of their actions alone.