Libel reform and the public – review of MST/INFORRM debate at Gray’s Inn – Gavin Freeguard « Inforrm’s Blog

Libel reform and the public – review of MST/INFORRM debate at Gray’s Inn – Gavin Freeguard

12 01 2011

Gavin Freeguard Gray's InnCould libel reform have a damaging impact on the public’s access to justice? This was one of the key questions to emerge last night from ‘Libel Reform: in the public’s interest?’, a public debate organised by Gray’s Inn in association with the Media Standards Trust and INFORRM.

Chaired by Helena Kennedy, an audience of lawyers, journalists, politicians and campaigners listened to the panel range over everything from the affordability of libel claims, the difference between individual bloggers and large media organisations and whether libel is too ‘claimant friendly’, to standards in journalism, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and the impact of the government’s libel reform bill (expected in March) on news reporting.

The summary of the event in this long post (also available here) is very interesting indeed.

Another interesting post on the issue of libel reform is Opinion: “Balancing Libel Reform” – Kevin Marsh, arguing that we must be slow to reform libel laws because, whatever journalists profess, “not all journalism is honest, well-sourced, fair-minded or in the public interest”. In similar vein, but more strongly, Paul Tweed argues that the current libel laws keep journalists honest:

The irony is that the UK broadsheets are generally regarded to be among the most credible and respected in the world, which is in no small measure due to our fair and balanced libel laws!