Pubdate: 13 Dec 2001 Source: Boston Globe (MA) Copyright: 2002 Globe Newspaper Company Contact: http://www.boston.com/globe/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/52 Author: Mark Jurkowitz WEB NEWS OUTLET WINS LIBEL RULING Al Giordano, the former Boston Phoenix journalist who now publishes the online Narco News Bulletin (www.narconews.com) just won a major legal victory - a New York State Supreme Court judge dismissed a defamation suit filed by Banamex (Banco Nacional de Mexico) against Giordano, Narco News, and Mexican journalist Mario Menendez. The suit contended that the journalists had libeled the bank by connecting it to illegal narcotics trafficking. In e-mail announcing the verdict, Giordano called the suit an "attack on our free speech and press freedom" and "the billionaires' abuse of the legal system to attack cyber liberties." Narco News attorney Thomas Lesser told the Globe the ruling broke important ground for online journalism since it concluded that the "Web site was entitled to the same protection that media defendants are entitled to under New York Times v. Sullivan," the landmark 1964 libel case that set current standards for defamation. Lesser said he was "pleasantly surprised" by the judge's decision to dismiss the case at this point, adding that "we're certainly considering, based on [the judge's] findings, bringing an appropriate motion or action to recoup our costs." Banamex attorney Michael Madigan said he was still digesting the ruling and that "the matter involving the court's decision is currently under review. Banamex will vigorously pursue all of its options with respect to false and libelous statements" made about it.