22 February 2010

On libel reform in the UK

(Sorry--if you are not a UK citizen [well, we're not "citizens" actually, but "subjects" of the monarch, but you get the idea] I don't think you can join this party. But not being a British "subject" does not excuse you from the pernicious influence of these laws...)

You may know that the UK is the "libel capital of the world". It is the court system of choice for anyone wishing to silence critics or dissent, no matter how well founded and almost regardless of its UK connections. Libel awards are stupidly high, and costs astronomical, so few organisations and almost no individuals can afford to defend themselves.

Tomorrow, the British Chiropractic Association's suit against the science writer Simon Singh goes to appeal, and on Wednesday the House of Commons' Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee will release a report  that, amongst other issues, will look at the impact of English libel law on free expression.

So this is a critical week to make your views known; go to http://www.libelreform.org/ and read the arguments and sign (or not, depending on your judgement; and it is conceivable that there are sites arguing the opposite case. If so, feel free to comment--I won't block any fair argument.)

(This is not a party political issue in any sense.)


  1. Anonymous11:20 am

    Simon Singh won today-result!

  2. Anonymous12:23 am

    It must be hard for BCA to provide sufficient evident for their treatment. Even if all previous patience has been treated successfully, still, not on can be certain about any cases in the future. God knows what will happen to next patient :-(


Comments welcome, but I am afraid I have had to turn moderation back on, because of inappropriate use. Even so, I shall process them as soon as I can.