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News on Libel Reform

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News on Libel Reform

Post  Panda on Mon 12 Jul - 18:46

Dear Friends

You called for a Libel Reform Bill – and the Government has listened.

On Friday, Justice Minister Lord McNally said the Government has listened to the 52,000 supporters of the Libel Reform Campaign and has made a “firm commitment to action” to protect freedom of speech and the public interest with a bill to be published in the New Year. The Bill will be the first attempt from a Government in more than a century to undertake fundamental reform of our libel laws.
It’s an incredible success for our campaign – and it’s thanks to your support.
The announcement was made during the second reading debate of Lord Lester’s Private Members Defamation Bill. You can watch the debate as it happened here: www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=6412 and there is a round up of coverage and reaction to the news here: www.libelreform.org/news/465-9th-july-2010-government-announces-libel-reform-bill
But we don’t know how radical the Government’s bill will be, and we don’t know whether it will ensure that writers like Simon Singh, NGOs like Global Witness, or medical professionals like Dr Peter Wilmshurst won’t face libel actions in the future. That’s why we need your continued support.
Many of you have been emailing and Tweeting about this already – please do continue to spread the word. Over the next three months we need to double the signatories to our petition so new MPs know how important this issue is. We have a lot of work to do together to make sure the Government brings forward a bill that really will make the law fairer and give greater protection to free speech. Bloggers, science writers, NGOs and small publications still face threats and bankruptcy under the current laws, as illustrated by two bloggers, Alex Hilton and John Gray, who are at the High Court in London today fighting to have a libel case against them thrown out. You can follow the case here www.jackofkent.blogspot.com.
Sile and Mike

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