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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jim Budd

The Court of Appeal in Lyon has upheld the judgment against Lyon Mag for having described Beaujolais as a vin de merde' in its July/August 2002 issue. Despite the penalty against the magazine having been slashed from E350,00 to E113,00, Lyon Mag has indicated that it plans to fight on. The Beaujolais syndicats that brought the action have expressed satisfaction with the outcome and have said that they will not pursue the magazine for the damages awarded, only for E2,800 of legal fees. Lyon Mag, however, is continuing its fight on the principle of press freedom. This action was brought under commercial law rather than the normal law that covers the press,' explained editor Lionel Favrot. There is a specific law, established in 1881, that protects the press in France. This decision is a grave threat to press freedom in France. It means, for instance, that if a paper criticises a particular car then the paper can be sued for any economic consequences.' The magazine is appealing to the Minister of Justice in Paris and will take its case to the European Court of Human Rights.