Banish the libel chill
16 Oct 2009

Friend of Index Allen Green has a great piece on libel reform over at CiF:

“The effect of libel chill is that the public do not have access to information that would properly inform their decision-making on important topics, such as public health and safety, or about the conduct of powerful corporations.

Accordingly, it is not journalists and publishers that require protection from libel law, but the public. We need a general public interest defence that can be balanced against the private right to reputation. This could be done legally by making the public interest a ground for invoking qualified privilege, which means malice or bad faith would have to be alleged to commence a claim where the public interest is plausibly engaged. Coupled with a statutory right to correction or reply for the claimant, this reform would provide appropriate protection to both claimants and defendants.”

Read the rest here

Index on Censorship and English PEN will soon be launching out joint report into libel reform. Watch this space.

Padraig Reidy

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