Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Britain's libel reform bill hijacked

Britain's libel laws, which provide an astonishing degree of immunity to the world's wealthiest people at the expense of democracy, are an international disgrace. Recently, there has been a remarkable push by members of civil society and others to make them more in line with the laws of more reasonable countries. But now this, from the Libel Reform campaign.
"The Libel Reform Campaign has worked hard to win the case for reform - to show the chilling effects of the current law on citizens, to secure commitment from the three main parties and to get a bill that ends bullying and protects the public interest.

We did all of this and politicians rose above the fray to work together on it.

But it is now threatened. As you may have read over the past week, the bill has been hijacked by a group of peers who have inserted amendments to introduce press regulation proposals from the Leveson debate 'by the back door'. The bill needs to go back before the Commons in the next two weeks, but the Government has not tabled it. It has to do so, because if the bill does not complete its passage before the parliamentary session ends in late April or early May it will be lost."
This is very, very important indeed. If these hijackers get their way, a lot of stories about tax havens (among many other important things) will go untold, because journalists will be too terrified of the libel vengeance to investigate and publish.

Please sign the petition now. It will take you almost no time, and they allow submissions from overseas (and why not?). And please pass it on.

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