Libel reform: What the papers say
English PEN and Index on Censorship's report, Free Speech is not for sale, has attracted coverage from a broad range of media
11 Nov 09

libelreformEnglish PEN and Index on Censorship’s report, Free Speech is not for sale, has attracted coverage from a broad range of media

Index and English PEN’s launch of our new report and libel reform campaign has made a big spalsh in the UK media.
The BBC ran a detailed story, with quotes from Padraig Reidy and John Kampfner. Read here

Afua Hirsch of the Guardian pointed out that Nigel Tait of renowned libel lawyers Carter-Ruck had praised the report, and the onus was now on parliamentarians.

But for once the solution is simple. MPs need to take up today’s report. They can’t argue. Even Carter-Ruck agree.

Read here

The Guardian also featured articles on the report from Simon Singh, Jo Glanville, Sir Ken Macdonald QC, and Geoffrey Robertson QC

The Evening Standard’s Roy Greenslade was enthusiastic about the report, but saw potential difficulties:

“[The report] made 10 key recommendations, all of which are eminently sensible and, I fear, all of which have been demanded in one way or another in the past.

The problem, as ever, is to persuade politicians to enact changes that would give journalists greater licence than they currently enjoy. For many MPs, this would be a bitter pill to swallow.

They need to know the arguments, however. They need to grasp that the restrictions on free speech in this country are not only affecting the media. Book publishers, historians, academics, scientists, novelists and bloggers are suffering from the chilling effect of laws crafted in the Victorian era.”

Read here

Meanwhile, David Blackburn of the Spectator saw libel reform as a chance for parliament to prove itself
Read here

John Kampfner discussed Free Speech Is Not For Sale on BBC Radio 4’s The Media Show. You can listen to the programme here.

Other reports appeared in the Daily Mail, Metro, The Bookseller and the Law Gazette.