NEWS
Straw commits to libel reform
21 Nov 2009
BY INDEX ON CENSORSHIP

libel reform
The Justice Secretary is reported to have pledged to make English defamation laws fairer. Index on Censorship reports

Jack Straw has acknowledged that English defamation laws “incentivise libel tourism” and has pledged to address curbs on the UK and international press.

In a report in the Sunday Times, Straw is quoted as saying: “A free press can’t operate or be effective unless it can offer readers comment as well as news. What concerns me is that the current arrangements are being used by big corporations to restrict fair comment, not always by journalists but also by academics.”

He adds: “The very high levels of remuneration for defamation lawyers in Britain seem to be incentivising libel tourism.”

According to the Sunday Times, Straw is “impressed” by the recommendations in English Pen and Index on Censorship’s report on defamation laws, Free Speech is Not For Sale.

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