Britain’s Half-Hearted Bid to Reform Libel Law - NYTimes.com: "Perhaps the bill’s greatest weakness is its failure to provide a robust “public interest” defense, which has been a key demand of campaigners. In the United States, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964) established an “actual malice” standard that the press has to meet to avoid action for defamation when reporting on public figures. The English bill however requires writers and journalists to demonstrate that they have been “responsible” in order to qualify for a public interest defense.
The bill includes a checklist of what is defined as “responsible publication,” ranging from the tone of the statement to the “importance” of what is being reported. But compliance with the list’s requirements is debatable and expensive. The uncertainty of this defense will continue to chill the efforts of investigative journalists, scientists and human rights groups from exposing corruption and wrongdoing." 'via Blog this'