“England’s libel laws are unjust, against the public interest and internationally criticised â€” there is urgent need for reform.”
That’s the message that the Coalition for Libel Reform is delivering to Parliament tomorrow in the form of a petition signed by writers, performers, scientists, and other Brits concerned that their country is severely lagging behind other developed nations in protecting free speech. In fact, “libel tourism” is becoming a serious problem, as right now England’s archaic laws give wealthy foreigners the ability so sue other foreigners if so much as a single critical pamphlet is found in England.
We’ve talked a lot on Skepchick about Simon Singh’s ongoing libel trial in which he is boldly defending himself from the increasingly asinine British Chiropractors Association, but today marks an important moment in the fight. Sense About Science, the group that has done wonderful work advocating for protecting science from libel law, has joined forces with Index on Censorship and English Pen to up the pressure on British politicians. This is great news, as is the fact that they’re moving forward with a well-thought-out plan of attack that utilizes the awesome people who have supported this initiative so far, like Simon Singh, Richard Wiseman, Dara O’ Briain, Jonathan Ross, Stephen Fry, Ben Goldacre, Marcus Chown, Dave Gorman, Robin Ince, and many others.
I was able to chat with Dara, Marcus, and Robin, as well as John Kampfner, the CEO of Index on Censorship. Find the audio on the Skepchick iTunes feed, via the RSS, or listen through your browser: Dara O’Briain, Robin Ince, Marcus Chown on Libel Reform