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Galloway wins libel over radio spoof anti-Semitic' jibe

PUBLISHED: 20:19 06 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:30 05 October 2010

MP GEORGE Galloway has been awarded £15,000 in libel damages against a small Jewish radio station which implied he was anti-Semitic. He sued Jcom radio for comments broadcast on a Sunday afternoon. The High Court ruled those comments defamed the Bethnal Green & Bow MP

Julia Gregory

MP GEORGE Galloway has been awarded £15,000 in libel damages against a small Jewish radio station which implied he was anti-Semitic.

He sued Jcom radio for comments broadcast on a Sunday afternoon in November.

The High Court ruled this week that those comments defamed the Bethnal Green & Bow MP.

The programme included a spoof character called 'Georgie Galloway' whose catchphrase was anti-Semitic, calling for the killing of Jews.

The catchphrase was in "appalling taste," said the judge, Mr Justice Eady.

The judge added: "Mr Galloway is the founding member of the Respect Party and is prominent in denouncing racism and discrimination and has no anti-Semitic or racist views."

He awarded the MP £15,000 in damages, plus costs.

Galloway, who was tipped off by a listener to the broadcast, said after the ruling: "This judgment has categorically crushed the slur of anti-Semitism.

"I have fought all forms racism all my political life. I continue to do so and will also continue to vigorously defend my reputation."

The show had been heard by 36 people on the internet, according to Jeremy Silverstone, chairman of Jcom's owners, Jewish Communications.

It was also broadcast over the airwaves in a small area of North London on a temporary four-week license.

Silverstone added: "We have accepted that a brief defamatory statement was made on Jcom.

"We fully recognise the High Court's decision and hope this is the end of the matter."

The comments were made by an inexperienced broadcaster, he added.

Jcom was a not-for-profit community station run by a team of volunteers.

It has had an unblemished record apart from November's incident, he pointed out, of providing the community with a balanced and respectful mix of culture, music, entertainment and debate.

But as a result of Galloway's libel case, the station "has now had to close down.

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