Thank you for your letter dated 19th June 2012, in response to my e-mail of 18th June. I do appreciate your taking the time to respond, and please excuse my continuing this dialogue via e-mail (I am currently away and without access to a printer).
I wish to stress that I do not see this as a party political issue, but as a parliamentary matter. As such, I do not bring this up as a criticism of any particular party, and thus consider your comment on ‘a decade of neglect under the last Government’ to be inappropriate. A few recent notable cases (please see http://www.senseaboutscience.org/pages/urgent-help-needed-for-libel-reform.html for some examples) have precipitated a movement for change of libel laws which have existed in current form for a period far preceding the last government (or the one before that). All main parties included a commitment to libel reform in their manifestos for the last election. (If we are to discuss ‘restoring vital civil liberties’, then we might consider the draft Communications Data Bill.)
I too am pleased that the Defamation Bill is in process. However, I remain concerned (as does the Libel Reform Campaign) that, in its current form, it does not ensure fair balance between right to free expression and protection of reputation (which no free speech advocate suggests riding roughshod over). I hope you will contribute to debating this bill, and argue for an effective public interest defence that protects individuals from (the threat of) libel action by wealthy organisations seeking to prevent legitimate debate and silence due criticism.
With thanks for your time and attention,
Further to my previous correspondences, please take the time to consider the points raised this week in Parliament:
With thanks and regards, etc,