A BRITISH LIBEL case has found its way to the United States, and some of the nation's largest media companies have weighed in against enforcing the judgment here. In their amici curiae (friends of the court) brief, the U.S. media companies and associations warned that "the danger that enforcement would pose to the U.S. press cannot be overstated."
Those signing on to the brief include the New York Times Co.; the Associated Press; the Washington Post; Dow Jones & Co.; News America Publishing Inc.; Advance Publications Inc.; Hearst Corp.; Times Mirror Co.; Cable News Network Inc.; American Broadcasting Co. Inc.; National Broadcasting Co. Inc.; Copley Press Inc.; Magazine Publishers of America Inc.; Association of American Publishers Inc.; the Society of Professional journalists; Article 19-The International Centre Against Censorship; and Interights -- The International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights. The case began in 1984, when the London Daily Telegraph published an op-ed article by Vladimir Telegraph, a Russian emigre who had worked for the BBC's Russian Service. The article, in part, was about the service and the ethnic origins of its Russian broadcasters.
In response, Vladimir Matusevitch, also a Russian emigre, who was working for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, wrote a letter to the editor, which was published, accusing Telnikoff of being a racist, among other things.
Telnikoff wrote a rebuttal, which the newspaper also published, and then …