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Letter to the Observer [re: Internet paedophile]

Forwarded to me by a friend:

Path: reboot.demon.co.uk!news.demon.co.uk!dispatch.news.demon.net!demon!
From: [email protected] (Malcolm Muir)
Newsgroups: demon.announce
Subject: Letter to the Observer
Followup-To: demon.service
Date: 1 Sep 96 07:25:38 GMT
Organization: Demon Internet Ltd.
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The following letters were delivered to the Editor of the Observer
last week as a request to publish a retraction of their article
relating to the Internet that appeared on Sunday 25th. August.

Since a full retraction has not been published, we feel it is right
to circulate copies of the letters to our customers.

Copies of the letters may also be viewed on the World Wide Web at:

http://www.demon.net/observer1.html (Solicitors Letter) and
http://www.demon.net/observer2.html (Open letter from the Chairman)

Malcolm Muir
Demon Internet


                          Jeffrey Green Russel Solicitors
                          Apollo House
                          56 New Bond Street
                          London W1Y 0SX
                          0171-499 7020

The Editor
The Observer Newspaper
Guardian Newspapers Limited
119 Farringdon Road
EC1R 3ER                                 30th August 1996

By Hand and Fax: 0171 713 4250

Our ref:   DRJ/JHG/[c]423395/9403.047

Dear Sir,

RE: Our Clients: Demon Internet Limited and Mr Clive

We  act on behalf of Demon Internet Limited and Mr  Clive
Feather  both of whom were the subject of articles  which
appeared  on  the  front page and  on  page  19  of  your
newspaper in the edition of Sunday, 25th August.

In  the  offending article you have represented that  our
clients  are "Pedlars of child abuse" and are "Key  links
in   the  international  paedophile  chain".   You   have
represented  that both our clients actively  support  the
supply  of  paedophile  material.   This  allegation   is
entirely  false  and  is  a most serious  and  outrageous
libel.    Our   clients  are  most  distressed   by   the
publication  of  the  offending  statements   which   are
inaccurate and grossly defamatory of them and which  will
cause   damage   to   their  goodwill   and   reputation,
professionally,  commercially  and  socially.   Both   Mr
Feather  and Demon Internet Limited have been the subject
of  serious  expressions  of  concern  and  outrage  from
various of the readers of your newspaper.

The  damage that you have done to our clients cannot,  of
course,  be  undone but it can be mitigated.  We  require
that  you mitigate the serious damage that has been  done
to  our clients by publishing the enclosed letter from Mr
A W Mudd, Chairman of Demon Internet Limited.

You  were  well  aware, when you decided to  publish  the
false  article in question, of the damage that  would  be
caused  to our clients which is already very considerable
and  which  will  form the basis of a claim  for  special
damages.   It is open to you to mitigate that substantial
loss  at the earliest possible time by publishing a  full
retraction and apology in this coming Sunday's edition of
your newspaper.

We  shall, within the next week or so, issue a  Writ  and
deliver  a  Statement  of Claim.   In  the  meantime,  we
reserve all our clients' rights in the matter and nothing
contained  in this letter or in the enclosed letter  from
Mr  Mudd  shall be regarded as a diminution or waiver  of
those rights.

Yours faithfully,


                                      Demon Internet Limited
                                      Gateway House
                                      322 Regents Park Road
                                      London N3 2QQ
                                      0181 371 1000

Our ref : AWM/SC/28-08

The Editor
The Observer Newspaper
Guardian Newspapers Limited
119 Farringdon Road

                                           30 August 1996

Dear Sir


Banner headline: Front page and Page 19 : Sunday 25th
August 1996

I refer to your articles on the front page and page 19 of
last Sundayís paper.  I regard these as highly defamatory
as well as a poor piece of journalism that
sensationalises a serious issue and clouds fact with

I am appalled and outraged that The Observer has printed
such a misleading, abusive and inaccurate article -
giving the impression to readers that Clive Feather and
Demon Internet are the "Pedlars of child abuse".  This
libellous reporting, littered with malicious lies not
only defames the good character and reputation of a
valued employee, but also destroys the genuine efforts
Demon Internet has been making in
conjunction with the police and the DTI to deal
effectively with the problem.

The articles clearly aimed at sensationalism at any cost
with the intention of misleading readers by stating that
our employee is an "Internet abuser" immediately after
using the word "paedophiles".

As the UK's largest provider of Internet access, Demon
has taken the lead in discussions with all relevant
parties and is in the process of announcing restrictions
to illegal material and processes to classify content,
enabling users to monitor and report on what is viewed.
Demon Internet is also the first European Internet
Service Provider to deliver Microsoft's new browser
software, 'Internet Explorer' which incorporates a
classifications standard.  Demon Internet has been taking
action to ensure that the Internet in the UK has informed
and appropriate legislation guarding the interests of

This report not only confuses an extremely complex and
sensitive issue but also smears the integrity of an
honourable, family man. Demon Internet is committed to
eliminating this scourge from this new and rapidly
expanding market. The Internet is bringing great benefit
to millions of users not least your own journalists.  For
you to pick on
one aspect in total isolation and present it in such a
lurid fashion, does not help the DTI, the police or
ourselves who are genuinely striving to solve the issues.

Would you please publish this letter in your edition of
1st September.    Your unreserved apology and full
retraction, to be given as great prominence as your
original articles, would also be greatly appreciated

Yours faithfully,

A W Mudd

Malcolm S. Muir                                Demon Internet Ltd.
Sunderland                                     322 Regents Park Road
England                                        London N3 2QQ