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Meghan, Duchess of Sussex: Reshaping’ tabloid media industry

The Duchess of Sussex has said she is “reshaping” the tabloid media industry as she claimed her court case is “a victory for anyone who has ever felt afraid to stand up for what is right”.

The Duchess won a Court of Appeal challenge on Thursday against the publisher of The Mail On Sunday over the publication of a personal letter to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.

The duchess, 40, sued Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), also the publisher of MailOnline, over five articles that reproduced parts of a “personal and private” letter to Thomas Markle, 77, in August 2018.

In a victory statement, she used the final line to say that tabloid practices are a “daily fail that divide us”, in an apparent nod to the nickname used by Daily Mail critics for the newspaper.

The statement read: “This is a victory not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what’s right.

“While this win is precedent setting, what matters most is that we are now collectively brave enough to reshape a tabloid industry that conditions people to be cruel, and profits from the lies and pain that they create.

“From day one, I have treated this lawsuit as an important measure of right versus wrong.

“The defendant has treated it as a game with no rules.

“The longer they dragged it out, the more they could twist facts and manipulate the public (even during the appeal itself), making a straightforward case extraordinarily convoluted in order to generate more headlines and sell more newspapers—a model that rewards chaos above truth.

“In the nearly three years since this began, I have been patient in the face of deception, intimidation, and calculated attacks.

“Today, the courts ruled in my favor – again – cementing that The Mail on Sunday, owned by Lord Jonathan Rothermere, has broken the law.

“The courts have held the defendant to account, and my hope is that we all begin to do the same.

“Because as far removed as it may seem from your personal life, it’s not.

“Tomorrow it could be you.

“These harmful practices don’t happen once in a blue moon – they are a daily fail that divide us, and we all deserve better.”

The duchess won her case earlier this year when a High Court judge ruled in her favour without a full trial.

However, ANL brought an appeal and, at a three-day hearing in November, argued the case should go to a trial on Meghan’s claims against the publisher – including breach of privacy and copyright.

Three senior judges gave their decision on the appeal at 10am on Thursday, and sided with the Duchess.

Giving a summary of the Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss Associated Newspapers’ appeal, Sir Geoffrey Vos said: “The Court of Appeal upheld the judge’s decision that the duchess had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of the letter.

“Those contents were personal, private and not matters of legitimate public interest.

“The articles in the Mail on Sunday interfered with the duchess’ reasonable expectation of privacy and were not a justified or proportionate means of correcting inaccuracies about the letter.”

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