Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Defamation Bill agreed by Parliament" Hip, Hip Hooray!

Great news! I received this email this evening. Well done to everyone involved in getting rid (mostly) of this nasty, vindictive, unjust, unfair and horrible stain on the whole British judicial process. 

I hope they are celebrating:)

"Dear Friends

We have some great news to share. The Defamation Bill has been agreed by Parliament and is now just waiting for Royal Assent, which will probably happen today, before becoming an Act of Parliament. This is undoubtedly down to all of your hard work with us over the last few years and you all deserve a huge thank you!

Below are some of the reactions from some of the Libel Reform Campaign supporters. You can read more here:

Tracey Brown, Director, Sense About Science said: “A campaign of small organisations, thousands of individuals and good parliamentarians has achieved changes that were denied to citizens for a century. We can now decide to publish based on ‘is it true’, not ‘will they sue’.”

Kirsty Hughes, Chief Executive, Index on Censorship said: “We now have a Defamation Bill that will strengthen freedom of expression, end the global chill from libel tourism and restrict corporations from suing citizen critics.”

Jo Glanville, Director, English PEN said: “This has been a remarkable campaign that has united politicians and campaigners to reform a law that had become an international embarrassment. The chill has had an impact on anyone speaking out in the public interest - from scientists to bloggers - so this is good news for freedom of speech in the UK.”

Dr Evan Harris, Libel Reform Campaign parliamentary adviser said: “As someone involved the campaign from the start, and from inside and outside Parliament, I can see what an achievement it is to achieve this reform.”

Simon Singh, science writer and defendant in BCA v Singh said: “This is an extraordinary story of cross party collaboration, fired up by a grass roots campaign, backed by everyone from nerds to Mumsnet, which includes mums who are also nerds.”

Justine Roberts, CEO and co-founder of parenting forum Mumsnet said: “It's not perfect, and of course we don't yet have the full detail on how the regulations will deal with publication on the internet. But we applaud the hard work of everyone involved, and are very happy to have been a part of this much-needed reform.”

Charmian Gooch, Director, Global Witness said: “The passage of the Defamation Bill is a long overdue victory in the campaign to reform the UK’s outdated and repressive libel laws.”

You can also read our initial analysis of the Bill (PDF)
We're going to arrange a bit of a gathering to get supporters and champions of the campaign together to celebrate this wonderful accomplishment and let you know what needs to happen next. We all still need to keep the pressure on to make sure the new law is enacted as soon as possible, clear and robust regulations are published, new Civil Procedure Rules are issued and most importantly we need to tell those who try and silence free speech through that libel they can't get away with it any more.
We'll be in touch with more details soon!
Síle & Mike


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