Monday, November 15, 2010

The Catholic blogosphere demands libel reform

The Catholic blogosphere's response to scientist Simon Singh's campaign for libel reform has been outstanding.

The latest bloggers to back the campaign are The Conventual Church of St John of Jerusalem who aptly noted that the sheer variety of people backing the campaign, many of whom would have little in common with each other in ordinary circumstances is "an indication of the serious concern with which many in our society now feel for the maintenance of free speech."

And one of the biggest beasts in the Catholosphere jungle, His Hermeneuticalness himself, who posted a characteristically erudite and measured blog entry which eloquently made the case for libel law reform. He said:

It is important to have a libel law. If someone writes seriously damaging things about you that are false, you should have some redress against them. To obtain a retraction, an apology, and some reasonable financial compensation is fair enough if your reputation has been seriously damaged. Unfortunately in England at the moment, the libel law can be used to stifle debate, even to prevent scientists from publishing their research freely, and to intimidate people instead of engaging in rational discussion. It is a matter of balance between free speech and the prevention of calumny. We have not got that balance right and therefore I support the reform of the libel law.

A link to my blogpost on libel reform by American Catholic uberblogging legend, Father Zuhlsdorf, has been the icing on the cake. The campaign for English libel reform is being read about and backed by Catholics from the Vatican to Vermont and from Lourdes to London. Take it from me, dear reader, that's important.


Blogger David Lindsay said...

If the current judicially imposed arrangement on privacy were enacted into the statute law, but with the burden of proof in libel actions placed on the plaintiff, then who could object to that? And why?

Making the privacy law statutory as the price of reversing the burden of proof in libel actions. That would be the deal. The corporate media cannot expect their own way all the time.

11/15/2010 2:39 PM  
Blogger Simon said...

You've started something, it would seem.

11/15/2010 4:41 PM  
Blogger neprimerimye said...

Libel laws represent an infringement on free speech. The truth is that those who own the media will take advantage of such laws while those who work for a living cannot.

Libel laws, even the most refined and reformed libel laws, are laws to protect the rich exclusively. Only a fool or a coward gives a damn about what the bourgeois media says about them.

Let us take for example the child of a worker who might have been found protesting the dramatic cuts to higher education spending and in a moment of anger smashed a few glass panes. It might be argued that reference to such a person as a vandal or hooligan is a libel - in my view such a person is a hero. But would the libel laws protect such a person? No fucking chance!

But libel laws would protect Tory scum hooligan Cameron who in his student days smashed glass panes for the sheer hell of it.

11/17/2010 5:52 AM  

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