Jack Straw moots end to UK libel tourism

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  • About time we had a public interest defence - the rest of the civilised world is ahead of us here which is why we are one of the most self censored societies in the OECD. We do salacious well but everyone is frightened of true investigative journalism - too much risk of libel to chase big business, government or police. And having to prove truth for fair comment and no latitude in qualified privilege means the stories that should get air time never do.

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  • But remember countries that have public interest also have more stringent privacy rules, it's swings and roundabouts. Good to see the multiple publication rule reformed - I am convinced the 1840 case is wrong and was only decided in favour of the claimant because he was a Duke.

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  • (1) We have a public interest defence. See Jameel in the House of Lords. Straw just wants to codify it. (2) Multiple publication rule has been considered in Strasbourg and found Convention compliant. Not sure, but don't think they are influenced by Dukes.

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  • I very much welcome a public interest defence. We do not yet have a public interest defence as such, the Jameel case established the defence of fair comment in a matter of public interest. Although similar, I believe that the statutory public interest defence as is being considered would be an easier defence to plead.

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