Archive for category Libel Reform

The Mass Libel Reform Blog – Fight for Free Speech!

This week is the first anniversary of the report Free Speech is Not for Sale, which highlighted the oppressive nature of English libel law. In short, the law is extremely hostile to writers, while being unreasonably friendly towards powerful corporations and individuals who want to silence critics.

The English libel law is particularly dangerous for bloggers, who are generally not backed by publishers, and who can end up being sued in London regardless of where the blog was posted. The internet allows bloggers to reach a global audience, but it also allows the High Court in London to have a global reach.

You can read more about the peculiar and grossly unfair nature of English libel law at the website of the Libel Reform Campaign. You will see that the campaign is not calling for the removal of libel law, but for a libel law that is fair and which would allow writers a reasonable opportunity to express their opinion and then defend it.

The good news is that the British Government has made a commitment to draft a bill that will reform libel, but it is essential that bloggers and their readers send a strong signal to politicians so that they follow through on this promise. You can do this by joining me and over 50,000 others who have signed the libel reform petition at
http://www.libelreform.org/sign

Remember, you can sign the petition whatever your nationality and wherever you live. Indeed, signatories from overseas remind British politicians that the English libel law is out of step with the rest of the free world.

If you have already signed the petition, then please encourage friends, family and colleagues to sign up. Moreover, if you have your own blog, you can join hundreds of other bloggers by posting this blog on your own site. There is a real chance that bloggers could help change the most censorious libel law in the democratic world.

We must speak out to defend free speech. Please sign the petition for libel reform at
http://www.libelreform.org/sign

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Free Speech Hustings and Libel Reform

When: Wed, Apr 21, 2010 6.30 – 22.30 PM
Where: The Crown Hotel, 43 Lime Street, Liverpool

Streaming live direct from the debate in London, the Merseyside Skeptics will be hosting a live broadcast of the The Free Speech Hustings – your chance to watch Jack Straw from Labour, Dominic Grieve from the Conservatives, and Evan Harris from the Liberal Democrats go head to head over libel law reform and protecting our freedom of speech.

The Free Speech Hustings bring together scientists, writers, human rights activists, journalists, bloggers and most importantly… voters – to put the difficult questions to the candidates about free speech and libel reform, counter-terrorism, privacy and religious hatred.

Each of the main parties will be represented, and will be answering questions on the libel law, free speech and what their party will do to protect and serve if elected.

  • Representing LABOUR… Jack Straw
  • Representing the CONSERVATIVES… Dominic Grieve
  • Representing the LIBERAL DEMOCRATS… Evan Harris

For more information, see libelreform.org.

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Miscellaneous Carols For Skeptical People #1: Simon Singh

Everyone and anyone who’s anyone in the skeptical community seems to be going to Robin Ince’s upcoming Christmas spectacular ‘Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People’. I, however, am not. So, wallowing in my position outside of ‘everyone’ and ‘anyone’, I thought I’d put together a few of my own carols for skeptical people. What better and more topical a place to start, thought I (for I was preparing for writing by inverting my noun-verb structure to start feeling all cultured and that) than with skeptic of the year and upcoming speaker at Liverpool Skeptics in the Pub Simon Singh, and the libel ruckus kicked up by those charming chaps at the BCA.

So, without further ado and to the tune of ‘We Three Kings Of Orient Are’, I give you:

Simon Singh: Exposer of Quacks

Simon Singh, Exposer Of Quacks

Simon Singh, exposer of quacks:
“Stay away from chiropracts
Curing colic this way’s bollocks
Ditch this bogus crap!”

So chiropractors started a war
Hid behind the libel law
“Oh Carter-Ruck him, Throw the book at him
Show this journo what for”

We the lawyers for the BCA
Wish to stop you having your say
You ask for proof, well here’s the truth
We’ll sue you anyway Read the rest of this entry »

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