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BMJ invokes new Texan freedom of speech law to fight Wakefield libel case

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e2051 (Published 14 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2051

Re: BMJ invokes new Texan freedom of speech law to fight Wakefield libel case

I am glad to see that the BMJ is taking this course. Mr. Wakefield will get his day in court, just possibly a short day.

Mr. Wakefield has repeatedly turned to the courts for public relations gain and to silence his critics. This is precisely the sort of behavior that anti-SLAPP legislation is designed to curb. For Mr. Wakefield, this could mean a hefty financial penalty on top of the BMJ's court costs.

I am reminded of what Justice Eady had to say to Mr. Wakefield in the decision ending his libel suit against Mr. Deer and Channel 4 years back:

"[Dr. Wakefield] wished to use the existence of libel proceedings for public relations purposes, and to deter critics, while at the same time isolating himself from the ‘downside’ of such litigation, in having to answer a substantial defence of justification."

Competing interests: parent of an autistic child
15 March 2012
Matthew J Carey
Research Physicist
Self
San Jose, California, USA
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