UK bill hits both libel tourism and anonymous abuse

GOOD NEWS: Great Britain appears ready to end libel tourism:

The overall aim of the Defamation Bill is to end ‘libel tourism’ and protect free speech. In recent years London has become the libel capital of the world.

Critics say this is because regulations favour claimants and that the very high costs involved in defending a claim mean many publications are forced to settle out of court, even when they believe what they published was true.

In an attempt to end trivial claims, future claimants will have to show that material has caused them ‘serious harm’. And those from outside the EU will face new hurdles before they can bring a claim in London.

BETTER NEWS: Politically correct paens to the wonders of anonymous speech also take a hit:

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke wants to strip away the cloak of anonymity which shields website users who peddle lies and vicious smears.

Internet companies will be expected to agree to rules over how to deal with libellous comments posted on their sites.

They will be told that – provided they agree to hand over the identity of the abuser to their victim – the internet company itself will be protected from legal action by the victim of abuse.

If they refuse, however, they could be hauled before the courts and fined thousands of pounds for the hateful comments, even though they were made by a visitor to their website.