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Government’s plans to avoid unnecessary libel claims don’t go far enough, say critics

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e1635 (Published 05 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1635
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

The UK government plans to give greater protection against libel claims to peer reviewed articles in scientific and academic journals in its forthcoming Defamation Bill.

The draft bill extends qualified privilege to fair and accurate reports of academic and scientific conferences. But the joint committee of MPs and peers set up to scrutinise it recommended extending the privilege further, to cover peer reviewed papers (BMJ 2011; 343:d6856, doi:10.1136/bmj.d6856).

In its response to the committee’s report the government said, “We are sympathetic to the need to provide clear protection for peer-reviewed articles published in scientific and …

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