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LIBEL LAW REFORM

EDM (Early Day Motion) 423A1: tabled on 14 December 2009

Tabled in the 2009-10 session.

This motion has been signed by 19 Members. It is an amendment to an existing motion.

As this motion is using historical data, we may not have the record of the original ordering, in which case signatories are listed alphabetically.

This is an amendment to an existing motion

This motion was originally tabled by Dr Evan Harris on 09 December 2009. This is amendment number 1.

View details of the original motion

Suggested amendment

after `publishing;', insert `further believes that the libel laws discriminate against average and low paid people when victims of defamatory comment in the pages of national publications;'.

Original motion text

That this House notes that human rights activists, scientists, writers and journalists are prevented from publishing, and the public prevented from reading, matters of strong public interest due to the chilling effect of English libel law; further notes that libel actions in England and Wales cost 100 times more than the European average; further notes that the costs of defending a libel case are usually prohibitive and that even successful defendants do not recover their full costs; further notes the report of the United Nations Committee on Human Rights which criticises English libel law for its stifling of free expression globally due to libel tourism whereby foreign complainants bring cases against foreign writers for alleged libel in overseas publications; believes that public interest is endangered by powerful vested interests and corporations being able to intimidate writers into not publishing; recognises the recent report by Index on Censorship and English PEN, Free speech is not for sale andfurther notes the campaign for scientific freedom by Sense About Science; welcomes the formation of the Libel Reform Coalition to campaign for law reform; and calls for a re-casting of the libel laws such that, while individual reputation is protected against malicious or reckless smears, lawful free expression is not chilled and there is a fully effective public interest defence for both scholarship and responsible journalism.

The first 6 Members who have signed to support the motion are the sponsors. The primary sponsor is generally the person who tabled the motion and has responsibility for it. The date shown is when the Member signed the motion.

In addition to the sponsors, the following Members have signed to support the motion.

There are no withdrawn signatures for this amendment.