Libel Reform Campaign to government – “Don’t kill the Defamation Bill”
The Libel Reform Campaign is urging the government not to drop the Defamation Bill after it was amended in the House of Lords to include proposals from the Leveson Report.
Late Wednesday evening, Labour Peers packed the Lords Committee stage of the Defamation Bill to vote through an amendment to the Defamation Bill that will mix in elements of Lord Justice Leveson’s report into this Bill.
Jo Glanville, the Director of English PEN said:
“The amendment to the Bill which was introduced right at the last minute by Lords with no debate in the House of Commons will introduce a requirement for defendants to seek advice from a ‘press board’ before publication. This would chill the press and free speech and is exactly what we’ve tried to avoid in the Defamation Bill. The government must reject these amendments and continue with the Bill.”
Kirsty Hughes, CEO of Index on Censorship said:
“It’s unacceptable for Labour Peers to hold the government to ransom by injecting statutory regulation of the press into a vitally needed Defamation Bill that is meant to strengthen freedom of expression. These two very different issues should be dealt with separately. The government must not drop the Defamation Bill, but continue the all-party talks on Leveson.”
Tracey Brown, Managing Director of Sense About Science said:
“We and thousands of others have campaigned for 3 years to stop the libel laws’ bullying and chilling effects on discussions about health, scientific research, consumer safety, history and human rights. We’ve come so close but we can’t risk waiting another generation to get this right if the government drops the Bill.”