Reform of English laws on free speech

The British government has confirmed that it will introduce a Defamation Bill in the spring, to change the law on libel and free speech. The proposed new law will clarify the existing defences of fair comment and justification. Libel reform campaigners believe that it will protect scientists, academics and journalists speaking out in the public interest with a new statutory defence.

The Index on Censorship has welcomed the government’s announcement, along with English PEN and Sense about Science. A recent article by John Kampfner in the ‘Independent’ sets out why reform is needed and what the government has committed itself to.

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