Check out #libelreform on Twitter to find Simon Singh, Ben Goldacre, Richard Wilson, David Allen Green, Padraig Reidy, Sense About Science and all the rest of that crowd – the geek-political interface, as Ben calls it – high-fiving the Queen’s speech mention of libel reform. Booya.
Index is delighted to announce that thanks to our Libel Reform Campaign, the Queen has announced a defamation bill in the next parliament
This will be the first wholesale attempt at reform since 1843 and an amazing achievement for the campaign and its 60,000 supporters. The bill will open the way to ending libel tourism and protecting free expression for journalists, writers, bloggers and scientists around the world. However, there is still work to be done and we will carry on fighting to make sure that the detail in the final Bill will truly deliver reform.
Yay campaign. Yay 60,000 supporters. Yay geek power.
Over the coming months, the Libel Reform Campaign which represent the efforts of English PEN, Sense about Science and Index will continue to fight for:
- a public interest defence so people can defend themselves unless the claimant can show they have been malicious or reckless.
- a strong test of harm that strikes out claims unless the claimant can demonstrate serious and substantial harm and they have a real prospect of vindication.
- a restriction on corporations’ ability to use the libel laws to silence criticism.
- provisions for online hosts and intermediaries, who are not authors nor traditional publishers.
Sign the petition. I thought it was for UK citizens only, but it’s not (and it shouldn’t be, since libel tourism is a global threat, not just a UK one), so I signed it.