February 11th, 2010

Simon Singh Libel Reform Campaign

This is Simon Singh, a British science writer:

Simon Singh

He needs some help. Last year he wrote an editorial in The Guardian warning sick people that chiropractors offer medical treatments that have no demonstrable efficacy. He was then sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association. (Learn more about chiropractors.)

British libel laws are so insane that if you lose your case it might cost you millions of dollars and if you win your case it might cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. This essentially gives wealthy organizations unlimited license to terrorize people who are telling the truth and make them shut up. The British laws are so bad that, for example, a Saudi company might sue an American blogger in British courts just because the laws are so unfair there. This is known as "libel tourism," and it's gotten so bad that Congress is seriously considering a law to just immunize all U.S. citizens against British libel cases.

There's currently a campaign underway to get Britain to fix its broken laws. You can learn more and maybe add your name to the petition at the Libel Reform Campaign website.