Comment posted by IRONSIDE, which content deserves a MUCH BIGGER visibility:
Dear friends A Libel Reform Bill has been tabled in the House of Lords Lord Lester QC has published a Private Members’ Defamation Bill to reform England’s outdated and unjust libel laws.
This is the first attempt in over a century to put forward a wholesale redraft of our libel laws to address many of the issues our campaign has highlighted.
Lord Lester’s Bill covers a great deal of the recommendations of the Libel Reform Campaign including a statutory defence for responsible publication on a matter of public interest; clarifying the defences of justification and fair comment, which will be renamed as ‘truth’ and ‘honest opinion’.
The Bill will also:
- Require claimants to provide evidence their reputation was damaged by an alleged libel before they can bring a case forward (they don’t have to do this at present) and make corporations prove financial damage before they can sue.
- Address the problems introduced by the rise of the internet and the culture of online publication including the multiple publication rule that makes each download a fresh instance of libel, and alter the responsibility of forum hosts for what is posted on their sites.
- Encourage the speedy settlement of disputes without parties having to bring in costly lawyers.
- Promote the speedy settlement of disputes without recourse to the courts.
There is a great piece by Lord Lester on why he is doing this now here. And Simon Singh has written his thoughts on the bill here.
Thanks to your support we’ve made the case that libel law reform is an issue politicians know they have to act on.
There is widespread Parliamentary support for reform … the majority of eligible MPs signed up to an EDM supporting libel law reform in the last Parliament. There were general election manifesto commitments to reform from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, and Labour.
Now, there is a coalition Government promise to reform the libel laws in the Queen’s Speech … …But we need new libel laws!
In light of Lord Lester’s Bill, the Libel Reform Campaign is asking: will the Government now make clear its plans for reform?
Will it support, adopt or develop this Bill?
Help us keep the pressure on.
Write to your MP asking them what the Government intends to do.
Best, Mike and Síle
PS - for more details of the bill and complete coverage see http://www.libelreform.org/