Britain vows to change 'embarrassing' libel law

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 7, 2011 19:39

 
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LONDON — Britain's plaintiff-friendly libel laws have become an international embarrassment, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Friday, vowing to change rules that have made the country a "libel tourism" destination for angry corporations and foreign celebrities.

In a speech on civil liberties, Clegg said the existing laws, which place the burden of proof on defendants, have a chilling effect on journalism and scientific debate.

It is "simply not right when academics and journalists are effectively bullied into silence" by the prospect of costly legal battles, he said.

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