Thursday, 10 March 2011

Libel law: What should a Defamation Bill contain?

On the eve of the introduction of the Government's new Bill to reform the libel laws, the Libel Reform Campaign group today published a new document: What should a Defamation Bill contain?

The campaign says the Defamation Bill should include:

• easier ‘strike out’ of trivial or inappropriate claims
• more effective and clearer defences
• modernisation to accommodate the internet
• rebalancing of the law to protect the ordinary individual or
responsible publisher
• a reduction in costs (and therefore more equal access for all parties)

The campaign says the measure of the Bill's success will be:

• whether there are fewer bullying and trivial cases
• whether the chill on free speech and publication on matters in the
public interest is reduced
• whether there is improved protection for internet publication, including
‘citizen publishing’ and historical archives
• whether individual citizens who have been defamed by a malicious,
reckless or irresponsible false allegation can gain an effective remedy

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