Defamation Bill: Coalition Fails On Free Speech

Tuesday, 16 April, 2013 - 21:15

The long promised reform of libel law was significantly watered down in a House of Commons vote on the Defamation Bill last night.

The changes to the bill, introduced by the Conservatives and backed by their Liberal Democrat coalition partners, removed proposals that would have required companies to show financial damage before they could sue journalists, researchers or bloggers.

Pirate Party UK Justice Spokesperson Loz Kaye said:

Much Needed Libel Reform in Danger

Monday, 25 February, 2013 - 18:00

The Defamation Bill passed its third and final reading in the Lords today. However amendments to bring in elements of Lord Justice Leveson's press recommendations have now put the bill in danger. The most controversial amendment for a statutory regulator was dropped, but the Government is reported to be considering dropping the bill entirely if agreement can not be reached.

Pirate Party Justice spokesperson Loz Kaye said:

Defamation and the Internet - Contact your MP Now!

Will Tovey's picture

After many years of campaigning, Parliament is finally debating a new Defamation Bill. Defamation (covering libel and slander) is about protecting a person's reputation, and balancing that right against the general freedom of expression. Over the last few years English libel law has become infamous around the world for its chilling effect on free speech, ease of use to silence criticism (informal, political and academic) and its disproportionate costs.

The new Bill attempts to tackle some of these issues. But while it is a step in the right direction, it mainly codifies the existing law rather than significantly improving it. There are still some major problems with the current text and while it is being debated in the House of Commons we have a chance to try to fix it before it becomes law. To do this, we need you to write to your MP, highlighting the major problems. If nothing else, please ask them to read through the memorandum the Party submitted to the Public Bill Committee, the key points of which are outlined below.