Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Composer Takes Defamation Case To ECHR

Composer Keith Burstein is taking his defamation suit over an unfavorable review of his recent opera, Manifest Destiny, to the European Court of Human Rights after the House of Lords refused to hear his appeal. The Evening Standard won a reversal in the lower court with a fair comment defense. Mr. Burstein regards a 2005 review by the Evening Standard's Veronica Lee as libelous. She said in part of his work, "I found the tone depressingly anti-American, and the idea that there is anything heroic about suicide bombers is, frankly, a grievous insult." She also called it "trite." He complained that her review amounted to an "`unwarranted attack' on his `motives and beliefs'."  The Law Lords, however, ruled that Mr. Burstein did "raise an arguable point of law of general public importance which ought to be considered by the House." Mr. Burstein says he is concerned that Ms. Lee's review amounts to an allegation that through his presentation of his characters, he supports terrorism.

Read the lower court's ruling here.

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