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When organisations get things wrong, the media holds them to account. But sometimes the media gets it wrong too.

Regardless of whether the media is right, wrong or (more likely) somewhere in the middle, adverse coverage is likely to cause damage to the organisation’s reputation and can go directly to the bottom line.

If you face the threat of adverse media coverage, we will work with you (and often your PR advisers) to form the right response strategy, both pre- and post-publication. We work to help you gain control: control over what is said, control over how your response is managed, and control over the pace at which the story breaks.

A serious allegation that is false may well justify a threat of libel action.

An allegation that is damaging but true (or partly true) will require a more nuanced approach, engaging with the media to ensure that the allegations are presented fairly, accurately and in context.


Case Study

A producer of one of the UK’s most respected TV documentary programmes contacted the communications team of a major consumer goods company late on a Friday afternoon saying that next week’s broadcast would feature allegations regarding one of its products, including that the product was potentially harmful to children.

The company was certain that the allegations were untrue and that the programme was in all likelihood basing the allegations on information from an individual known to the company who had an axe to grind.

Reminding the programme makers and the broadcasters of their obligations under the Ofcom code and the client’s legal rights to bring proceedings in relation to the threatened broadcast, lawyers in our team were able to secure a commitment to delay the broadcast for a week. That gave time to compile the necessary data and expert opinions to persuade the programme makers that the allegations were not sustainable.

Photo of Imogen Allen-Back

Imogen Allen-Back

United Kingdom
t: +44 (0)20 7054 2733
Expertise: Social media, adverse media coverage, competitor attack, confidentiality
Photo of Alex Keenlyside

Alex Keenlyside

United Kingdom
Senior Associate
t: +44 (0)20 7490 6646
Expertise: Adverse media coverage, competitor attack, confidentiality, social media

News from

Corporate defamation claimants will be comforted by court’s interpretation of ‘serious harm’, expert says

It was sufficient for a law firm to show that it had lost out on a single instruction in order to demonstrate that it had suffered “serious harm” that had “caused or is likely to cause … serious financial loss”, the High Court has ruled.

Defamation reforms should cut claims but only after courts give guidance on how the new rules apply, says expert

Changes to defamation laws should help cut the number of libel claims being brought before UK courts, an expert has said.

Website operators’ defamation complaint handling should include assessment of privacy in making disclosures, says expert

Website operators’ defamation complaint handling should include assessment of privacy in making disclosures, says expert

Online news publishers can be held responsible for defamation regardless of business model, CJEU confirms

Online news publishers can be held responsible for defamatory comments or other illegal material on their websites regardless of what business model they adopt, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has confirmed.

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