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Campaigners call for libel law changes that promote open debate in science

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 11 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1608
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

A clear and effective public interest defence, restrictions on corporate bodies suing for defamation, and an end to libel tourism must form part of the forthcoming defamation bill for England and Wales, say campaigners.

Publication of the bill was imminent as the Libel Reform Campaign launched its demands at the Houses of Parliament on 10 March. The government has accepted that the draconian libel laws need reform, but the final shape of the bill is still unclear.

Critics, including senior judges, say the current law, which favours defendants, and the huge costs of libel actions in England, operate to chill free speech on matters of public interest. …

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