Britain’s infamously draconian libel laws have made London the libel tourism capital of the world. They are one of the reasons that this blog’s server is in California; the publication takes place in the US, under the protection of the First Amendment. It may be of little difference to Guido, but one of the few noble acts of this government has been the Defamation Bill, which would finally bring about much needed libel reform. Step forward Labour luvvie Lord Puttnam.
Puttnam’s wrecking amendment is a naked attempt to force through the failed Leveson proposals. He is calling for a “specialist arbitration service” that would require newspapers to to sign up to a new regulator. Underpinned by statute, naturally. Sound familiar? Hacked Off backing the move is hardly the shock of the century, they have deservedly lost a lot of friends as a result. Index on Censorship, who campaign against freedom of expression abuses around the world, are worried. They tell Guido:
“While the Defamation Bill has been through 3 parliamentary committees and has the backing of our 60,000 supporters, Puttnam’s attempt to introduce Leveson by the back door was debated and passed in 126 minutes. The government has got to take the initiative, get the Defamation Bill into the House of Commons and then MPs will need to show their constituents whether they back the draconian Puttnam amendment or not.”
Puttnam is trying to kill libel reform. You can tell him and his Leveson-loving, press freedom-hating cronies where to go here…