21 June 2012
The Defamation Bill is now at the Committee Stage and it appears that it will move very quickly to the House of Lords, maybe as early as July.
Whilst the Libel Reform Campaign is pleased to see many of the changes it has lobbied for are contained in the new Bill, there are still four points which remain outstanding, chief of which is an improved Public Interest Defence (and not just a codification of the Reynolds defence). For this reason the Libel Reform Campaign are calling a public rally at the House of Commons on Wednesday 27 June at 10.30am.
High profile supporters will join the campaign at what could be the last chance to ensure Parliamentarians and policy makers know the public support for a public interest defence in the Defamation Bill. While the Bill addresses some important issues, such as reducing libel tourism and providing protection for academic publication, in other areas there are serious shortcomings. There is no worthwhile public interest defence and the bill offers no restrictions on the ability of corporations to silence critics.
The meeting will hear from supporters who have been part of the campaign since it started, Dara Ó Briain, Professor Brian Cox and Dave Gorman, organisations backing libel reform, the three charities at the heart of the Libel Reform Campaign (Index on Censorship, English PEN and Sense About Science), and victims of the libel laws including Simon Singh, Ben Goldacre and Peter Wilmshurst.
Details of where to meet can be found by clicking here. The link contains the campaign's briefing to MPs so you can see exactly why they are continuing to press for amendments to the new Bill.