- Written by Robert Sharp
- January 12, 2017
- Category: Northern Ireland
The Libel Reform Campaign today publishes a detailed response to the Department of Finance report authored by Dr Andrew Scott.
The detailed substantive recommendations made by Dr Scott in his report are (with a few exceptions) welcomed and supported by the Libel Reform Campaign. The Report, coupled with the Consultation Paper of the Northern Ireland Law Commission (NILC) published before its abolition, provides an extensive evidence base for reform of the law of libel in Northern Ireland.
The consultation undertaken by the NILC elicited responses from major international and domestic publishers, from the BBC to The Guardian, newspaper representatives, the News Media Association, and the world’s largest internet company, Google. The significant number of unique consultation responses reflects the importance of reform in Northern Ireland to a wide range of individuals, organisations and corporations. Dr Scott’s recommendations in the wake of the NILC consultation and the inclusion in the Report of two pieces of draft legislation outline an evidence-led approach for reform of the law of defamation in Northern Ireland.
There is no reason whatsoever for any further political delays. As this consultation, along with the many consultations and opinions before it show, free speech in Northern Ireland is being chilled by an archaic, technical and restrictive law of libel.