Monday, 1 February 2010

Libel law in the UK - too much reform?

LSE/UEA authors suggest we should be careful that reform does not altogether remove the reasons for defamation law:
The adoption of the many current proposals to reform the laws of defamation would leave the media free to publish false allegations with little fear of being put to redress, according to a report just published by Dr Andrew Scott (LSE, Department of Law) and co-author Professor Alastair Mullis (University of East Anglia). The report Something Rotten in the State of English Libel Law? argues that the public debate – as being played out in the media – concerning the reform of libel law has been one-sided. It highlights and respond to criticisms of libel law that Scott and Mullis believe are based on partial understandings of the existing law.
    Dr Scott says: ‘Press freedom and discussion are vital to democracy. Misuse of an overbroad, and particularly an overly costly, libel regime can impact upon investigative journalism, scientific discussion, and the important work of NGOs. However, the reality of most libel actions, which involve bullied and harassed claimants challenging damaging inaccuracies perpetuated by multinational media corporations has somehow been lost from the debate.’

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