Free speech groups welcome repeal of punitive law

first_img News Section 40(3) of the Act introduced worrying provisions for the awarding of punitive costs against publications that chose not to join a recognised regulator. Under this law, defendants would have been liable to pay the costs of both parties, even if vindicated.In a January 2017 submission to a DCMS consultation, English PEN and RSF called for a repeal of the law: ‘Section 40 would introduce an unprecedented chilling effect for publishers and journalists in the UK, leading to self-censorship and a reduction in public interest reporting. The essential role of the press in our democracy would therefore be undermined, as well as the scope for any writer to investigate matters of concern and national interest for the public.’ The submission argued that the measure was incompatible with free speech protections under the European Convention on Human Rights.Jo Glanville, director of English PEN, said:We are delighted that the government has listened to our concerns and dropped this coercive legislation. The lack of clarity regarding the definition of publisher in the Crime and Courts Act would have exposed not only the media but civil society as a whole to vexatious claims, undermining freedom of expression across the UK.Rebecca Vincent, UK Bureau Director for Reporters Without Borders, said:We welcome the Conservative Party’s commitment not to proceed with the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry, and to repeal Section 40 – measures that we campaigned for. However, a number of other threats to press freedom remain, such as the Law Commission’s proposal for an alarming new Espionage Act, which should also be scrapped. We urge all UK political parties to ensure their policies respect and protect press freedom, as it is too often trampled in the name of security.English PEN and RSF are extremely grateful to Emma Woollcott, Leyla Linton and Humam Al-Jibouri, of the Reputation Protection team at Mishcon de Reya, for their expert advice and support in preparing the submission to the DCMS consultation. Help by sharing this information RSF_en United KingdomEurope – Central Asia Freedom of expression ​English PEN and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) welcome the Conservative Party’s manifesto commitment to repeal Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013. Free expression groups call for public interest defence in UK official secrets laws Contact Rebecca Vincent – [email protected] or +44 (0)7583 137751 Jo Glanville – [email protected] or +44 (0)7713 020971. United KingdomEurope – Central Asia Freedom of expression News May 11, 2017 Find out more Follow the news on United Kingdom to go further Receive email alerts News RSF urges politicians to respect press freedom in the UK general election campaign News April 26, 2017 Find out more Notes to Editors ENGLISH PEN AND REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS RESPONSE TO CONSULTATION ON THE LEVESON INQUIRY AND ITS IMPLEMENTATION, January WHO JOINS THE REGULATOR? A report on the impact of the Crime and Courts Act on publishers – Helen Crime and Courts Act 2013 English PEN is the founding centre of PEN International, an international fellowship of writers promoting freedom of expression and literature across frontiers. Reporters Without Borders – known internationally as Reporters sans frontières (RSF) – is an international non-profit organisation working to defend the freedom to be informed and to inform others throughout the world. Organisation May 3, 2017 Find out more May 18, 2017 Free speech groups welcome repeal of punitive law Worrying moves under May’s leadership lead to dropped UK ranking in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Indexlast_img

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