The new Liberal-Conservative coalition government in the UK has made assurances that it will extend the scope of the Freedom of Information Act and review libel laws.
Libel reform has been the subject of an ongoing campaign by Index of Censorship and English PEN. All three main political parties pledged their support for reforming current libel legislation before the election, but there were concerns that a change in government could threaten the campaign’s progress.
Says the report:
The promise of a review of libel laws was expected as it was an assurance made by each of the leading parties in the build up to the election – however, it doesn’t go as far as the commitment made in the Liberal Democrat manifesto to place the burden of proof back onto the claimant in certain libel cases.
Full story at this link…
The Conservative party has joined Labour and the Liberal Democrats in pledging support to the Libel Reform Campaign, a coalition led by Index on Censorship, English PEN and Sense About Science.
Conservative shadow justice secretary, Dominic Grieve, said:
The Conservative party is committed, if elected, to undertaking a fundamental review of the libel laws with a view to enacting legislation to reform them. This reform could best be done by means of a separate Libel Bill and this is the preferred approach for us.
The Libel Reform campaign “is believed to be the first campaign by an NGO this year to get a manifesto commitment from all three major parties,” reports Index on Censorship.
Full post at this link…
Disclaimer: Journalism.co.uk has also pledged its support to the libel reform campaign.
Hear the Libel Reform Campaign’s Michael Harris talk about how he built the online buzz around this issue at Journalism.co.uk’s upcoming news:rewired event, on 25 June 2010 in London.
“Nadine Dorries, the Conservative frontbencher who claimed the Daily Telegraph’s revelations on expenses could drive MPs to suicide, has had her blog shut down by lawyers acting for the newspaper,” reported the Observer’s Gaby Hinsliff on Saturday (follow link for fuller details).
Today, on her own blog, Dorries comments:
“As well as waiting during the night on Friday to see if my career was in tatters, I also had to deal with the minor problem of the Barclay Brother’s [sic] use of global lawyers and the removal of my blog site on behalf of the Telegraph Group.
“At 1am I felt as though I was in a very surreal place. This was just little me, and two of the richest men in the world who own a newspaper empire and can pretty much say what they want, when they want, to who they want, had, using their wealth and muscle, shut me down.”