Torbay MP presents petition to the Prime Minister urging the Government to reform our restrictive libel laws
Local MP Adrian Sanders led a cross party group of MPs to present a petition to 10 Downing Street, asking the Government to reconsider the Defamation Bill and our current laws on libel. The MPs were joined by Mock the Week host Dara O’Briain, TV scientist Professor Brian Cox, and comedian Dave Gorman to push for greater free speech.
At present, English libel law and the use of ‘super-injunctions’ are adversely affecting the rights of the press and the public to freedom of expression and freedom of information. Investigative journalists on programmes such as Newsnight have been faced with defamation suits, and human rights organizations are often forced to edit and retract articles due to potential libel action.
The Director of English PEN Jonathan Heawood said:
“Our libel laws allow people accused of funding terrorism or dumping toxic waste in Africa to silence their critics whilst ‘super-injunctions’ stop the public from even knowing that such allegations exist. We need to reform our libel laws now.”
Adrian has called on the Government to preserve our human rights to freedom of press, expression and information, and to put forward a practical libel law that allows investigative journalists the liberty and flexibility they require to keep our political and business leaders to account.
More information on the campaign can be found at: www.libelreform.org/news/528-mass-lobby-for-a-public-interest-defence
Commenting, Adrian said:
“A legal system that allows the rich and powerful to bully and intimidate people into silence is one that is designed to protect the corrupt and prevent accountability. Reform of these laws is long overdue.”