latest news from the libel reform campaign

Here is the latest news from the Libel Reform Campaign:

The Government published its promised draft Defamation Bill this morning. You can read the bill here:
http://www.justice.gov.uk/consultations/docs/draft-defamation-bill-consultation.pdf

The Libel Reform Campaign led by English PEN, Index on Censorship and Sense About Science have welcomed the Government’s draft Defamation Bill as ‘a great starting point’ to ensure the first overhaul of our archaic libel laws, but calls upon Parliament to go further in key areas. Since its launch 18 months ago, 55,000 people have signed up to the campaign, with over half of all eligible MPs backing our Early Day Motion in the last session of Parliament. This is the first time any government has promised wholesale reform of our libel laws since 1843.

In particular, the campaign calls for:

• a stronger public interest defence
• an end to the ability of corporations to sue in libel
• more protection for web-hosts and internet service providers from liability for the words of others.

We [The Libel Reform Campaign] have had an initial look and weighed it up against the blueprint for reform we launched last week. We welcome where the draft bill contains some of the reforms we set out, including:

  • A more effective and clearer defence of truth (justification)
  • A clearer and wider defence of honest opinion (fair comment)
  • The extension of statutory qualified privilege to benefit NGOs and scientific conferences
  • A single publication rule with a one year cut off

But it comes up short in a few important places:

  • The suggested public interest defence needs more work to properly protect citizen critics
  • There is no commitment to counter the censorship of online discussions by web-hosts and internet service providers who are liable for content they publish
  • There is no commitment to restrict corporations’ ability to sue in libel

For more information about The Libel Reform Campaign and to sign the petition click here

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Britain, campaigns & events, Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s