Sunday, November 13, 2011

Libel - what is it good for?

Has anyone really had their reputation cleansed by bringing a libel (or slander or defamation) case?

It went well for Oscar Wilde and for Tommy Sheridan. And nobody now laughs at Max Spanker Mosely.

A self-published writer is suing Vaughan Jones, and Richard Dawkins, and Amazon, over some book reviews. I know this should be nothing to see, move along. But the complaint is being taken seriously. O for a serious legal system.

Index on Censorship write:
John Kampfner, the Chief Executive of Index on Censorship, said: “That a family man from Nuneaton can face a potentially ruinous libel action for a book review on Amazon shows how archaic and expensive our libel law is.”

Kampfner added that the Libel Reform Campaign, which is underway with English Pen and Sense about Science, is hoping to commit to a bill in the next Queen’s speech to reform the chilling effect libel has on freedom of speech.

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