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Anonymous's Avatar Comment 1 by Anonymous

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Sat, 25 Jun 2011 00:29:11 UTC | #842394

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 2 by Anonymous

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Sat, 25 Jun 2011 01:47:10 UTC | #842406

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 3 by Anonymous

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Sat, 25 Jun 2011 06:24:43 UTC | #842428

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 4 by Stevehill

I suppose all campaigns need funds, but if a bunch of published authors, scientific bodies, national newspapers and their proprietors (including Murdoch etc) are asking me for £1, you have to wonder exactly how much support they have.

I've said before quite small changes (not status quo) are all we need here, and the government has already committed to making such changes and has published a Bill.

I respect Singh, Goldacre et al but they are not going to get "revolutionary" change, because of its likely impact on closing the doors of the court to genuine victims of irresponsible journalism, by the likes of Murdoch el al. Parliament's job is to balance such competing interests.

Foreign readers may wish to know that the Murdoch press is currently settling hundreds of multi-million claims by prominent people arising from his newspapers having illegally tapped their phones in search of sensational journalism. Arrests have been made. This is the background against which, in Britain, newspapers are seeking what amounts to a defamers' charter. It does not help.

Sat, 25 Jun 2011 06:38:48 UTC | #842430

edmundjessie's Avatar Comment 5 by edmundjessie

If journalists had more of a desire to use the powers of free speech to expose corruption at a high level in politics and corporate businesses, then i might be more interested in signing the petition. What puts me off is the strong suspicion the primary upshot of such reform would be having to suffer more drivel about premier league footballers and non-celebrities.

Sat, 25 Jun 2011 08:30:32 UTC | #842444

Atropa's Avatar Comment 6 by Atropa

I thought the main thrust of Messrs Singh and Goldwater was against the courts being used to stifle criticism of dubious scientific and technological claims and therefore I would have thought we (Richard Dawkins admirers) would have been right behind them. I have signed the petition and I hope many of us will. Parenthetically, I think some curbing of the excesses of the rubbish press of this country is long overdue. We need a Press Watchdog with teeth and powers to punish errant newspapers. The mild wrist-slaps doled out to the most egregious wrongdoing are a farce and lead the industry to hold the Press Commission in well-deserved contempt.

Sat, 25 Jun 2011 09:40:55 UTC | #842453

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 7 by rod-the-farmer

Very interesting to watch the committee at work.

Sat, 25 Jun 2011 09:46:01 UTC | #842454

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 8 by Anonymous

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Sat, 25 Jun 2011 10:33:57 UTC | #842458

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 9 by Anonymous

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Sat, 25 Jun 2011 11:19:08 UTC | #842469

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 10 by Anonymous

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Sat, 25 Jun 2011 11:24:16 UTC | #842473

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 11 by Anonymous

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Sat, 25 Jun 2011 11:34:38 UTC | #842476

bartlawless's Avatar Comment 12 by bartlawless

This link above isn't working because the last 1 hasn't been properly recognised as part of it.

http://www.justgiving.com/libelreformappeal2011

Sat, 25 Jun 2011 12:32:30 UTC | #842481

Moderator's Avatar Comment 13 by Moderator

Corrected now - thanks for spotting it!

Sat, 25 Jun 2011 12:35:54 UTC | #842482

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 14 by Anonymous

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Sat, 25 Jun 2011 13:43:24 UTC | #842495

rationalmind's Avatar Comment 15 by rationalmind

I am quite worried by some of the comments here. I don't think people realise, so I'll make it clear. WE DO NOT HAVE FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN THE UK.

Take the example of the football club who sued users of a forum just like this one for making quite mild criticisms. I am sure many readers here will like PZ Myers's blog Pharyngula. I certainly do. HE COULD NOT RUN IT IN THE UK! He is too critical of vested interests the creationists would have had it shut down years ago. Your freedom of speech, particularly on the modern fora on the internet.

If you have a website and you say anything even mildly critical about a company or individual then they can threaten the service provider who will go bust if they have to contest any action and they decide your website goes down!

Imagine, a not entirely hypothetical example, but I wouldn't dare mention names, a Guru supported by a gang of followers who describe him as the great expert. You know the subject and he is talking nonsense. Dare you say this? You could be in big trouble. Have your house taken away. Loose your job etc.etc. etc. All because of our libel laws and the threat they are to free speech. They are an anachronism and anti-democratic. I'll bet Richard Dawkins has this server handled by the American part of his foundation! There was, it seems a UK law that was better in some respects passed in 1792!

Read these articles http://www.monbiot.com/2008/09/17/the-price-of-free-speech/ http://www.monbiot.com/2008/07/15/censored-by-money/

Sat, 25 Jun 2011 19:30:04 UTC | #842581

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 16 by Stevehill

@rationalmind

No, we don't have freedom of speech, and thank fuck (in the absence of god) for that.

Nobody has a right to traduce anyone's reputation, ruin their life, render them unemployable, based on hearsay, or gut feeling, or "no smoke without fire". That's what libel laws are all about - even in America (and for that matter everywhere else on the planet).

Monbiot, on this topic, is a blithering imbecile. He's probably also parroting what he's told to think by his paymaster, Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian. He's not a lawyer; he barely understands the question here. The Guardian also, famously, published Simon Singh's alleged libel (describing chiropractors as "bogus") then hung him out to dry rather than back his legal costs. It would have cost them a couple of hundred quid to have had his piece lawyered pre-publication. Singh should be suing them for breach of their duty of care to him.

Maybe he is not doing so because actually he's not out of pocket, and they've covered his bill, but it suits the reform campaign to pretend otherwise?

The press have sniffed a window of opportunity here to grant themselves a defamers' charter. They want it very badly. Anyone interested in facts, evidence, reason, fairness ought to be extremely cynical about what they're up to here.

Freedom of speech is letting the media call Dawn Reed and Christopher Lillie, two nursery school workers, be publicly labelled as paedophiles, and rendered unemployable for a decade. They were innocent. Singh's campaign wants libel damages to be capped at £10,000. Their judge expressed regret that he could not in the circumstances award them more than £200,000 each - basically a simple loss of earnings claim with no element of damages for distress.

Their chief persecutor, who the judge regarded as "malicious", was the long term partner of Guardian columnist, Bea Campbell OBE. She in turn has form for writing a book about "satanic" child abuse which was (quite rightly) pulled by publishers as it was a fanciful, ridiculous, and libellous farrago of lies.

Sat, 25 Jun 2011 19:57:10 UTC | #842593

quisquose's Avatar Comment 17 by quisquose

Comment 4 by Stevehill

Foreign readers may wish to know that the Murdoch press is currently settling hundreds of multi-million claims by prominent people arising from his newspapers having illegally tapped their phones in search of sensational journalism. Arrests have been made. This is the background against which, in Britain, newspapers are seeking what amounts to a defamers' charter. It does not help.

It wasn't really phone tapping though was it? It was dialling into people's voicemail and taking advantage of the fact that most people don't change their pin numbers from the factory default. It's a practice that has been rife in school playgrounds, which is good training ground for many journalists.

For me it's the equivalent of rummaging through people's waste in order to try and discover some information. Both might be distasteful, and illegal even, but it is nowhere near as bad as the public perception that has been allowed to develop, mainly from the press that have not been discovered of doing this, of men actually tapping the phones of 'celebrities'.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending these twats, it's just that I've get very pissed off when I read other journalists try to claim some higher moral ground and place the meme in the public's mind that the NOTW guys were behaving like Gene Hackman in The Conversation.

Sat, 25 Jun 2011 21:09:38 UTC | #842608

Alex, adv. diab.'s Avatar Comment 18 by Alex, adv. diab.

@Stevehill

Ben Goldacre and Simon Singh, of all people, as paid shills of some sinister force on a crusade to end all individual freedom in great britain? Really?

Sun, 26 Jun 2011 00:40:07 UTC | #842645

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 19 by Stevehill

A developed libel law, like many laws, is there to protect freedom. In this case, freedom from the press's right to mount Salem-style witchhunts against anyone they like without fear of any consequences.

Just this week we've seen a major criminal trial collapse, with the judge discharging the jury before they could reach a verdict, because the press (pretty well all of them) broke the law in luridly reporting details about the defendant after he had been convicted on other charges. Fortunately in that case he will never be let out of prison, but at least one of his victims has been denied justice.

The British press is completely out of control.

Whatever "reform" they are in favour of, that's a strong argument for going in the opposite direction. No need at all to make up any conspiracy theories. Their agenda is transparent.

Sun, 26 Jun 2011 06:40:57 UTC | #842707

isisdron's Avatar Comment 20 by isisdron

well at least the US isnt alone in the shitty media department.

Mon, 27 Jun 2011 02:12:26 UTC | #843229