Associated Newspapers started legal proceedings last Friday as campaigners flooded London streets with a spoof edition of the Metro newspaper.
Associated Newspapers obtained an emergency injunction to stop the distribution of the spoof paper. The injunction lasted till Monday 5 July, when Associated Newspapers was to return to court.
Tens of thousands of copies of the Metr0 spoof paper were distributed by fifty or so people wearing white T-shirts bearing the Metr0 logo during rush hour at twenty busy stations around the capital. The ‘spoofing operation’ was apparently part of ‘two days of action against racist press’, called by a coalition of anti-racist and migrant rights groups under the name Press Action. A blog bearing the same name had been set up about a month before, with the aim of ‘exposing and taking action against racist and anti-migrant bias in mainstream media’. The paper’s headline story was how the new government was planning to deport Gordon Brown to Scotland.
Associated Newspapers Ltd, which also produces the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday alleged in court documents that: ‘the people behind the spoof are avowedly political’ and that the Metro ‘avowedly doesn’t take a political stance’. Lawyers apparently served court papers on individuals behind the Press Action blog, which had advertised the original call for action. Press Action issued a statement denying anything to do with the ‘publication and distribution of the spoof’, stating it had merely received a press release and electronic copy of the paper which had been posted on its website. Associated Newspapers has also asked a US based company hosting the Metr0 spoof website to take the website down. It has so far refused to do so.