Tuesday, April 13, 2010

All Major UK Parties Commit to Libel Reform

Again, there has been another promising move forward as a result of Simon Singh's court case in defense of his article on chiropractors. For those of you not receiving the emails from the Sense About Science campaign, I'm posting the email here so you can hear the good news for yourselves.
Dear friends,

Great news - all 3 major political parties in the UK are committed to libel law reform.

Dominic Grieve, the Shadow Justice Minister, told us on Friday that “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 Lib Dems made libel law reform a policy in September 2009 after Professor Richard Dawkins addressed their party conference and Jack Straw committed Labour to reforming English libel law at our mass-lobby of Parliament on 23rd March. The Labour manifesto, released today, pledges “To encourage freedom of speech and access to information, we will bring forward new legislation on libel to protect the right of defendants to speak freely.”

We are delighted that the Government and opposition have been moved by the campaign and by your support but now we have to make sure libel reform doesn’t become a forgotten election promise. Please keep telling your friends and colleagues what a fundamental issue libel reform is and encourage them to sign up to the campaign at http://www.libelreform.org/.

If you are in London this evening come to the libel rally organised by Westminster Skeptics in the Pub to hear about the next steps for the campaign and to celebrate Simon’s recent appeal hearing. More here: http://bit.ly/duUjmH


Granted, this doesn't mean it's happened yet, nor that the reviews of libel law will result in the changes that need to be made to protect science and fair criticism, but it is very promising.


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