As previously announced, Index on Censorship and English PEN have launched a joint inquiry into libel reform. This week’s Economist carries a good round up of libel tourism issues, including this concern:
The problem is not just money. Under English libel law, a plaintiff must prove only that material is defamatory; the defendant then has to justify it, usually on grounds of truth or fairness. That places a big burden on human-rights groups that compile reports from confidential informants—usually a necessity when dealing with violent and repressive regimes. People involved in this kind of litigation in Britain say that they have evidence of instances where witnesses have been intimidated by sleuthing and snooping on behalf of the plaintiffs, who may have powerful state backers keen to uncover their opponents’ sources and methods.
Read the rest here