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Support Simon Singh
19 Feb 2010
BY INDEX ON CENSORSHIP

Index on Censorship readers have two chances to show their support for Simon Singh on Monday the 22nd and Tuesday 23 February.

On Monday evening, Westminster Skeptics host a rally at the Old Monk pub, St James, London. Speakers include Singh, Peter Wilmshurst and Ben Goldacre. No reservation is required, but the meeting is expected to be very busy, so get there early to get a seat. Admission £2.

On Tuesday 23 February, at 10.30am, Simon Singh’s appeal will be heard at the Court of Appeal.

Index readers can attend a show of support for Simon, and to wish him good luck before the hearing. We will be meeting at 9.45am on the steps of the Royal Courts of Justice (Strand, WC2A 2LL).

Background:

A Suitable Case for Treatment (2008-2009)
Claimant: British Chiropractic Association (BCA), UK
Respondent: Simon Singh, journalist and author, UK

Simon Singh, the best-selling author of Fermat’s Last Theorem and The Code Book, published an article in The Guardian in April 2008 in which he discussed chiropractic treatment with reference to the British Chiropractic Association.

In a passage describing the BCA’s claims about the treatment of a number of childhood ailments, Singh wrote that ‘even though there is not a jot of evidence’ the BCA ‘happily promotes bogus treatments’.

Despite the article being published in The Guardian, Singh was sued personally. Mr Justice Eady decided on the issue of meaning in May 2009, and found that Singh’s comments were statements of fact, rather than expressions of opinion, which implied that the BCA was being deliberately dishonest. It was a meaning that Singh has said he never intended. Eady refused to grant leave to appeal, although permission was granted by the Court of Appeal itself in October 2009.

As a result of this case, the charity Sense About Science launched a petition for libel reform. Richard Dawkins has said that if Singh loses, it would have ‘major implications on the freedom of scientists, researchers and other commentators to engage in robust criticism of scientific, and pseudoscientific, work’.

3 responses to “Support Simon Singh”

  1. Stef Carroll says:

    Good luck! I can only say that members of the BCA I have experience of, we now stay clear as the treatment seemed only to allow an ‘un-natural’ interest in touching my wife’s bottom. I have no doubt that like any proffession there are good and bad but our findings are they and ducks share a word common in useage – QUACK!

  2. Max Beatson says:

    Challenging beliefs and holding to account mumbo jumbo science is a corner stone of an advanced civil society.Shame the learned judge fails to see the importance of open debate.