Take Me To Your Leader Writer

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...has written more leaders (newspaper editorials) than anyone alive or dead, an honour still to be recognised by the Guiness Book of Records or the Nobel judges. I have produced them for the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Sunday Mirror, Today, the Sunday People, the Evening Post (Hemel Hempstead), the Caithness Courier and the Student (Edinburgh). My creed is: Have opinions, Will travel.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

A national shame and disgrace

Even though I know the situation well, the session on our libel laws at the Society of Editors' conference in Glasgow yesterday was still shocking.
Not only is the cost of a libel trial in this country 140 times higher than elsewhere in Europe but we have become the world capital of libel tourism
As John Kampfner of Index on Censorship said, Britain is the equivalent of a tax haven only what we provide is a haven fOr litigants who couldn't fight a case in their own country - or anywhere else.
Some of the recent actions taken in our libel courts - particularly the persecution by drug companies of anyone who raises questions about their products - are disgraceful and an assault on independent criticism.
As I said to Kampfner later, it made me realise that my investigation into Epilim, which I wrote about on this blog last week, would never have been published now. The risks would have been far too great of getting hit with huge legal costs.
A few judges have been allowed to take us down this shameful path. So shameful that America has had to pass a law preventing their citizens being sued for libel in the UK.
It would be simple for our Government to pass a law of its own putting libel on a sane footing. The coalition has made sympathetic noises but there is no sign that I can see of them rushing to right this disgrace.
Don't they care about Britain's image in the world? Or are they secretly content to allow the current situation to continue because they think it is a way to control the media?

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