Thursday, December 10, 2009

National Petition for Libel Law Reform

Free Speech is an important component of a democratic society. When the voices of people are silenced, particularly those with something important to say, then the whole of society suffers.

In the UK the silencing comes not through threats of violence, but through threats of financial ruin. The wealthy can afford lawyers who use British libel laws to force people to be quiet. When this happens the 'democracy' is no longer democratic, since only those with money have a voice. Journalists, civil servants and even bloggers are not allowed to tell their stories. Sometimes, these stories may be just gossip and therefore unimportant, but sometimes, as in the case of Simon Singh, they are making a vital point, and their stories need to be heard.

Sense About Science, English Pen and Index on Censorship are campaigning for Libel Law Reform in the UK. There is more detail here.

As Tracey Brown, Managing Director, Sense About Science says:
"We have to show politicians that small tinkering with the libel laws won't do - we need a real public interest defence. Otherwise, there will be more cases like those against Simon Singh and Peter Wilmshurst, and the libel laws will continue to be the tools of well-funded bullies who want to silence criticism."
If you wish to support the campaign please add your voice.