PA welcomes draft defamation bill announcement

<p>The Publishers Association has welcomed deputy prime minister Nick Clegg&#39;s announcement of a draft defamation bill in the spring, which will address the &quot;high costs of defamation proceedings&quot;. <br /><br />Speaking on libel reforms at the Institute for Government on Friday (7th January), Clegg announced his intention to &quot;restore British liberties&quot;, tackle limits on freedom in everyday life, reform counter terrorism measures, and give &quot;people the information and power to hold the state and other institutions to account&quot;.<br /><br />He added: &quot;We want public-spirited academics and journalists to be fearless in publishing legitimate research . . . We intend to provide a new statutory defence for those speaking out in the public interest, whether they be big broadcasters or the humble blogger. And we intend to clarify the law around the existing defences of fair comment, and justification.&quot; <br /><br />Responding to Clegg&#39;s intention to &quot;address the high costs of defamation proceedings&quot;, Mollet said: &quot;We whole-heartedly support Mr Clegg&#39;s stance on costs for defamation proceedings, which are inordinately high, and we would urge Government to tackle this problem head-on. We aim to work with Government to provide practical suggestions and solutions to these issues.&quot; <br /><br />Clegg also called for a halt to libel tourism, calling it a &quot;farce&quot; that the American Congress has &quot;felt it necessary to legislate to protect their citizens from our libel laws.&quot; <br /><br />Mollet said: &quot;The creeping use of &#39;libel tourism&#39; comes at a cost to our international reputation, and the ease with which claimants can bring libel cases harms our rights to freedom of expression. The book publishing sector is one of many industries that is restricted by the threat of libel claims.&quot; <br /><br />This comes as the government&#39;s review of Intellectual Property law continues. Evidence must be submitted by 1st March. Mollet said: &quot;The call for evidence stresses the importance of hard evidence and case studies from the sector, which the PA will be delighted to provide. IP is driving the innovation and growth in digital services in particular and we will marshal a strong response to highlight this.&quot; </p>