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Libel reform campaign evidence to scrutiny committee

25th May 

Evidence submitted to the scrutiny committee of the draft defamation bill

Introduction

The Libel Reform Campaign was set up by Index on Censorship, English PEN and Sense About Science to obtain major changes in the English libel laws to better protect free expression.

The Libel Reform Campaign welcomes the government’s commitment to reforming English libel law. The UN Human Rights Committee, the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee, and the Ministry of Justice working group on libel all raised significant concerns over the negative impact of libel on free speech. All three main political parties made a commitment to libel reform in their general election manifestos, and the coalition agreement included a pledge to libel reform. This consensus for reform provides a unique opportunity to overhaul these failing laws. This opportunity must not be wasted with a partial codification of the existing common law.

We are delighted that the Committee is now considering the draft Defamation Bill and related matters in detail. Read the Libel Reform Campaign's written submision to the joint scrutiny committee of the Lords and Commons in Parliament, setting out our thoughts on the draft defamation bill.