I reproduce here, for anyone not on the e-mailing list, the text of an updating message from The Libel Reform Campaign:
We’re still waiting for a public interest defence as the Defamation Bill goes to the House of Lords.
The Defamation Bill has its second reading debate in the Lords tomorrow*. This will be the first chance members of the Lords have had to talk about the Bill and the problems it was introduced to solve. The government said when they published the Bill in May that its aim was to protect the culture of open debate that scientists, authors, bloggers, doctors and consumer groups need to scrutinise and criticise products and claims. But it is yet to fulfil its promise because the Bill lacks a strong public interest defence. Until this is remedied, scientists, human rights NGOs, consumer groups, authors and doctors will continue to be silenced. At its last appearance in the Commons, MPs unanimously said they hope the Lords makes the substantial changes the Bill needs.
You can watch tomorrow’s House of Lords debate from 15:00 here: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Live.aspx. (confirmed speakers so far include Joan Bakewell, Alan Sugar and Onora O’Neill) and follow @freedebate and #libelreform on Twitter for updates.
We will be back in touch after the debate tomorrow to let you know what kind of final push is needed, as the Bill moves on to Committee stage in the Lords, to get the Government to accept that the Defamation Bill needs serious changes.
Síle and Mike
The Libel Reform Campaign’
* Please note that is today – Tuesday 9th October.