James Forsyth

Libel laws stifle national debate 

Libel laws stifle national debate 
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Journalists complaining about libel laws can come across as just special pleading. But the effect of this country’s libel laws is far more pernicious than just causing problems for journalists; they are chilling public debate in this country.

 

The real problem, as my colleague Martin Bright notes, is not the high-profile cases but the fact that things don’t get reported because so few media companies are prepared to risk time consuming and expensive law suits. Nick Cohen says that he thinks the Tories might be open to reforming the law and that certainly tallies with what I’ve heard. But it will take a determined and energetic campaign to make the Tories make this a priority. So if you agree that the sight of various unsavoury individuals using our laws to shut down debate is unworthy of this country do write to your MP.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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