Monday, September 24, 2007

Censorship and libel.

Bob's back. He was caught up in the censorship of Tim Ireland and others, and you can read all about it in the post linked to above.

That UK libel laws are a disgrace is, of course, not news. The response here appears to have been as disproportionate as ever.

One thing I haven't seen though, is a good article on how libel laws should be arranged (in broad strokes, obviously). Whereabouts in the world can you find a settlement where the best (least worst?) balance is struck between the right to free speech, and an individuals right to un-publish damaging falsehoods, or seek compensation once they are too far gone?

I've looked through a fair number of posts published in the last few days, but I've not seen anything that quite fits the bill. Any pointers gratefully received. I'm looking for an addition to my 'best in the world' occasional feature here.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I think the US defamation/libel laws are surely, obviously and boringly what you're looking for. Not only have court cases repeatedly helped uphold decisions in favour of defendents, i.e. that opinion is protected and you need to prove actual malice, but also laws have been passed to protect ISPs and the like from being liable from comments passed through them - "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider". Which presumably would stop lawyers from threatening hosting companies and force them to go to the man in question. And there's still room for good men to go to law to clear their names. There are higher damages than some other countries, but that's often due to other factors, like needing to puncture litigation shields.