Donnerstag, 11. Februar 2010

Libel reform needs YOU!

Simon Singh, der von der britischen Chiropraktikergesellschaft (British Chiropractic Association (BCA)) wegen seiner kritischen Äußerungen mit einer Verleumdungsklage (auch in den Blogs von Jörg Rings oder Ulrich Berger) bedacht wurde, bittet um Mithilfe. Das entsprechende Gesetz, das sich auch schon die Kritik des UN Himan Rights Committee zugezogen und zu einem beträchtlichen "Klagetourismus" beispielsweise reicher Saudis oder Russen geführt hat, soll, nein muss reformiert werden. Die Regierung in London scheint aber noch nicht so ganz mitbekommen zu haben, dass ein übergroßzügiges Klagerecht gegen vermeintliche Verleumdungen (und um die geht es hier ja, als schlichte kritische Äußerungen, wie sie in Debatten eigentlich üblich sind) zu einer deutlichen Einschränkung des Rechts auf freie Meinungsäußerung führt. Simon Singh musste für seine Kritiken an den britischen Chiropraktikern bereits 100 000 Pfund an Anwaltskosten aufbringen, und es droht noch mehr zu werden. Daher seine Bitte, die Forderung nach einem modernen Recht nicht nur zu unterschreiben (und die ist ausdrücklich auch an Nichtbriten gerichtet), sondern auch, weitere Leute zum unterschreiben zu überreden. Was ich hiermit hoffentlich getan habe.

Dear Friends,

I've had an idea - an unusual idea, but I think it might just work.

As you know, England's chilling libel laws need to be reformed. One way to help achieve this is for 100,000 people to sign the petition for libel reform before the political parties write their manifestos for the election. We have 17,000 signatures, but we really need 100,000, and we need your help to get there.


My idea

My idea is simple: if everyone who has already signed up persuades just one more person each week to sign the petition then we will reach our goal within a month!

One person per week is all we need, but please spread the word as much as you can. In fact, if you persuade 10 people to sign up then email me (simon@simonsingh.net) and I promise to thank you by printing your name in my next book ... which I will start writing as soon as I have put my own libel case behind me. I cannot say when this will be, but it is a very real promise. My only caveat is that I will limit this to the first thousand people who recruit ten supporters.

When persuading your friends remember to tell them:

(a) English libel laws have been condemned by the UN Human Rights Committee.

(b) These laws gag scientists, bloggers and journalists who want to discuss matters of genuine public interest (and public health!).

(c) Our laws give rise to libel tourism, whereby the rich and the powerful (Saudi billionaires, Russian oligarchs and overseas corporations) come to London to sue writers because English libel laws are so hostile to responsible journalism. (In fact, it is exactly because English libel laws have this global impact that we welcome signatories to the petition from around the world.)

(d) Vested interests can use their resources to bully and intimidate those who seek to question them. The cost of a libel trial in England is 100 times more expensive than the European average and typically runs to over £1 million.

(e) Three separate ongoing libel cases involve myself and two medical researchers raising concerns about three medical treatments. We face losing £1 million each. In future, why would anyone else raise similar concerns? If these health matters are not reported, then the public is put at risk.

My experience has been sobering. I've had to spend £100,000 to defend my writing and have put my life on hold for almost two years. However, the prospect of reforming our libel laws keeps me cheerful.

Thanks so much for your support. We've only got one shot at this - so I hope you can persuade 1 (or maybe 10) friends, family and colleagues to sign.

Massive thanks,

Simon

via kritisch gedacht

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