Science writer Simon Singh is to appeal Mr Justice Eady’s ruling on his use of the term “bogus” in an article on chiropractic. Singh is being sued for defamation by the British Chiropractic Association. The judge ruled that the bestselling author’s use of the word “bogus” implied that the BCA deliberately endorsed treatments they knew to be questionable.
Speaking at a press conference in London, Singh said: “Everyone agrees that there is something fundamentally wrong with libel laws, which have a chilling effect on journalists, whether they write about science or anything else, whether they live in Britain or anywhere else.”
In conjunction with Singh’s case, UK science education charity Sense About Science is launching a support campaign to defend the right of the public to read the views of scientists and writers.
Tracy Brown of Sense About Science said: “We have battled to get scientists to be open about their reasoning with the public. Before it was a case that scientists didn’t deign to, with these recent libel actions we now meet the problem that they don’t dare to.”
The campaign for an urgent review of English libel law and its impact on debate in science and evidence is supported by Index on Censorship and over 100 leading figures from the world of science, journalism, law, comedy and literature.
Supporting Singh, writer and comedian Stephen Fry commented: “The simplicity and purity of evidence is all that stands between us and the wildest kinds of tyranny, superstition and fraudulent nonsense. When a powerful organisation tries to silence a man of Simon Singh’s reputation then anyone who believes in science, fairness and the truth should rise in indignation.”
For more information, go to http://www.senseaboutscience.org.uk/freedebate/