Martin Bright

The Big Chill

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Not my choice for the Spectator's Top 50 films (really not) but the title of the masterful new edition of Index on Censorship. The article by Floyd Abrams on how Britain has become an international centre for libel tourism is particularly powerful. 

The following note to the Khalid bin Mahfouz/Rachel Ehrenfeld case is particularly telling:

"So speech-destructive is English defamation law that, on the advice of a prominent and skilled Englishsolicitor, I am neither describing what it is Ehrenfeld had to say about bin Mahfouz or what the sources relied upon by her had stated, lest the estimable but none too richly financed magazine you are reading run the risk of finding itself drawn into yet another libel action based upon the Ehrenfeld book. Could there be a better example of the baleful impact of English libel law?"

At the launch event on Monday I met the blogger Jack of Kent, a marvellous individual who has made the unusual journey from the Thatcherite Right to the Civil Libertarian Left. He has been one of the prime movers in the campaign by Simon Singh to speak his mind about chiropractors. I salute him.