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Home / News / Dave Fanning launches defamation case against Microsoft

Dave Fanning launches defamation case against Microsoft

Well-known RTÉ DJ Dave Fanning has launched defamation proceedings against Microsoft and a Hong Kong news site over the publication of his picture alongside an article stating that an Irish broadcaster had gone on trial for alleged sexual misconduct.

The article was published by an online news network entity called BNN on 11 October last and was accompanied with Mr Fanning’s image.

It was entitled “Prominent Irish Broadcaster faces trial over alleged sexual misconduct.” written by a Kasturi Chakraborty.

The defamatory article, which stated that the broadcaster’s identity was being “withheld due to legal restrictions”, and made a claim that the broadcaster “faces trial for allegedly engaging in sexual activities with a child under 12”, was also allegedly republished on Microsoft’s News Service MSN on the same date as it had been published by BNN.

Mr Fanning claims that the article made seriously false and damaging statements about him.

The trial in question had nothing to do with him, and related to another broadcaster, who was subsequently acquitted of all charges.

As a result he has brought proceedings where he seeks damages for the alleged defamation.

The article, the court heard, was removed the day after it was published.

The court heard that the article was completely false, wrongly suggested that Mr Fanning is a criminal, a person of low moral standing, a danger to minors, and is a paedophile.

The court heard it has gravely damaged Mr Fanning’s reputation and good character.

As a result, Mr Fanning, represented by Garrett Cooney Bl instructed by solicitor Paul Meagher, wants to sue BNN, Microsoft Operations Ireland Ltd and its US-based parent Microsoft Corporation.

As the defendants are both located outside of the EU, Mr Fanning required the permission of the High Court to serve the proceedings on them.

Counsel told the court that after an extensive search by Mr Meagher his side have discovered that BNN is registered as an Non-governmental Organisation, founded by a Mr Gurbaksh Chahal, located at the Prudential Tower, the Gateway Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.

Counsel said that at this stage of the proceedings it is believed that Mr Fannings image, may have been included with the article after an Artificial Intelligence (AI) programme used to collect and aggregate news stories failed to function properly.

Today Mr Justice Cian Ferriter said that he was satisfied, on an ex-parte basis to allow Mr Fanning serve the intended action on BNN.

However, there were certain issues he needed clarified in relation to the application regarding Microsoft’s US based parent, which the court wanted clarified.

The judge said he would like to know if there was any evident the allegedly defamatory article was published on any MSN services outside of Ireland or in jurisdictions under the control of Microsoft’s US parent.

The judge adjourned that aspect of the application for a week.

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