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LIVE: Follow the Defamation Bill debate

The second reading of Lord Lester’s Defamation Bill takes place today with 22 peers debating it in the House of Lords.

The bill proposes significant changes to current libel legislation to address online publishing and could also offer greater protection for journalists reporting on parliamentary proceedings.

Journalism.co.uk is following the action – the reading starts at 10am – and we’ll be adding updates to this blog as they come in. You can also watch a livestream of the session on the UK Parliament website.

Follow the ‘more’ link below for previous entries.


Lord Lester closes the reading, responding to individual comments.

He confirms that sites hosting third party comments, such as mumsnet, would be classified as innocent facilitators online and therefore not liable.

He adds that his bill was always aimed at protecting vulnerable parties.

“I am not interested in creating a bill for the media, I am interested in the individual, the critic, the newspaper.

“I am very glad others who are not lawyers took part in the debate, this is too important a subject to be left to just the legal profession.”

In response to the justice minister’s announcement that the government will draw up a draft law, he says he wondered if he was “alive at all or if I am in heaven, because I wasn’t expecting this response”.

“What he has said is extremely encouraging, indicates an open mindness to reform (…) and I’m sure that it’s better for the government to have a draft bill and then a joint committee looking at it across both houses.

“Then hoping we are in good health an actual bill that will start in this house.”

In a final vote the bill was agreed to be given a second reading.

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