Observer journalist threatens to sue Survival International

\'Uncontacted\' tribe in Peru

You have probably seen this image. You may have even heard that it was a ‘hoax’ – especially if you read this article in The Observer by Peter Beaumont

Well – it wasn’t a hoax, Peter got a bit confused with semantics and wrongly accused the tribe as being reported as undiscovered. He seemed to be mixing up ‘unknown’ or ‘undiscovered’ with ‘uncontacted’ (which is how Survival International described them) and unfortunately for him, he shouted about it in a national paper.

Anyway – as if that wasn’t bad enough, he then (in a moment of panic?) telephoned Survival International and threatened to sue them:

“Hello, this is Peter Beaumont from The Observer here. I’m getting extremely irritated about the way in which you’re associating me with the allegation that you may have been responsible for a hoax. If you use that word once more, either in association with emails or letters sent to my office or anywhere else, I will be taking legal action and I will sue you for defamation or libel, whichever is appropriate. I’m available at 077x xxx xxxx. You are really on the brink of going too far, so I suggest you get in touch with me.” Listen to the actual voicemail

Stephen Corry, Director of Survival, said today, ‘This is the first time in 39 years that a journalist has threatened to take legal proceedings against us. What makes it all the more astonishing is that the wave of reports precipitated by Mr Beaumont’s article has seriously undermined the fight for tribal peoples’ rights. So far from taking responsibility for the inaccuracies of his piece, he’s going to sue us unless we keep quiet! It might reflect better on The Observer if they simply acknowledged that they had got it wrong, and that our original story was completely accurate.’

You can read more about it over on Survival International’s site