Thursday, February 11, 2010

Free speech

We've got a bit of a problem in the UK in that our libel laws are the worst in Europe. As they stand a claimant usually wins; this means that publishers, journalists, and others are being muzzled. The cost of a defence can be over £1 million, which is 140 times what it costs elsewhere in Europe.

The government is soon going to reconsider these laws and I wonder if you'd be willing to sign a petition asking for reform.

It doesn't just affect the UK as we get people from other countries coming to make their claims here - it's called libel tourism. What a thing to be known for! I'd rather see us known for freedom of speech.

Edited to add: you can read more about it on Nicola Morgan's blog.
 

11 COMMENTS:

David said...

Best of luck to you and all your readers in the UK - my signature would not be valid since I live in the USA.

fairyhedgehog said...

David, they are asking for signatures from people from other countries, due to the tourism aspect. The US is on the list of countries you can sign in from.

stacy said...

Okay, signed!

fairyhedgehog said...

Thanks, stacy!

Old Kitty said...

Hi

Oooh Nicola Morgan's blogged about it too!

Hoooray!

:-)

x

fairyhedgehog said...

So she has, Kitty. I'll link to that in the post. Thank you!

Bernita said...

I always wonder if petitions have any real effect.

fairyhedgehog said...

Bernita, I'm not sure that they do. Writing to your MP is more likely to have an effect, I think, because they can't afford to ignore you completely.

Old Kitty said...

Hi

Yes Petitions (especially if part of an organised campaign) can make a difference whether locally or nationally or globally.

1) Petition for military dog Rex to be adopted by Sgt. Jamie
http://www.care2.com/c2c/share/detail/33282

2) Petition to keep polar bears out of circuses

Polar bears face unbearable conditions at the circus
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/174130946
Keep Polar Bears out of tropical circuses!

3) Jubilee 2000 UK - the predecessor to the Drop the Dept campaign that collected a staggering 24,319,181 signatures from 166 countries in both online and paper forms (the petition has now been removed). It is now evolved into Jubilee+ and continues with many other campaigning actions - www.jubilee2000uk.org

etc.

If anything they raise the profile of an issue - they are effective as part of an organised campaign. If you visitany other voluntary, non-government site campaigns, petitions are integral to their overall strategy.

Sorry - long post - but grassroot action work! Oh they do.

Take care

:-)

x

fairyhedgehog said...

You may be right, Kitty. I'm afraid I got rather disillusioned after I was one of a million people who walked in London against going to war on Iraq and our government entirely ignored us. But maybe petitions help, and I do sign ones that I agree with.

stacy said...

I agree, Kitty. Grassroots campaigning got President Obama elected (although I doubt he'll be able to rely on that again). I think petitions do make a difference, as they at least let our representatives know we're paying attention to the issues.

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