The Australian newspaper has condemned what it calls the collision of evidence and spin in the Vioxx courtroom battle.
As barristers and solicitors fight in the Federal Court, arguing their case in front of a judge, a less visible “public relations war” is being played out to minimise negative publicity, it reports.
The team from prominent media relations firm Kreab & Gavin Anderson follow journalists out of court, ask them what they are writing, hand out daily press releases and send background emails.
“The team rings reporters first thing in the morning, accuses them of ‘cherry picking’ the evidence and bombards newspapers with letters to the editor.”
The Australian received five letters in seven days recently, and a sixth letter signed up Colin Loveday, a partner from Merck’s law firm Clayton Utz.
The newspaper defends its reporting, noting that while spinning a potentially damaging story is nothing new, when reporting from the Federal Court, “there is nothing to spin”.
“Journalist simply report information as it is presented to the court.”
Top Melbourne barrister David Galbally QC said “this is highly unusual conduct”. He said he had never heard of a party trying to get their case out in the media before there is any of their evidence in court and during the actual case.
Read the full article here.