Saturday, December 05, 2009

Human Rights: Britain's libel tourism "threatens the principles of free speech"

The world's rich and powerful have long chosen London to defend their interests in court, but pressure is mounting for an overhaul in the English laws that saw it named "libel capital of the world".

Lawyers, freedom of speech campaigners and even members of the government are questioning whether legislation designed to protect people's reputations is now being used to silence criticism, especially by scientists.

This has caused concern in the United States, where a bill passed the House of Representatives in June that would make English libel rulings invalid there.

"Libel tourism threatens the principles of free speech because foreign courts often don't place as difficult a burden on plaintiffs in libel cases," the US bill's co-author, Congressman Steve Cohen

Read more... Could London lose 'libel capital of the world' crown? (AFP-Sydney Morning Herald)

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