English libel law is an international problem. It has been condemned by a UN Human Rights Committee report, President Obama signed into law bipartisan legislation protecting Americans from its effects, and a UK Parliamentary committee described it as a national humiliation.
John Kampfner, the CEO of Index on Censorship, explains how his organization alongside partners built a coalition of 60,000 supporters, and forced politicians to act with the first wholesale attempt at libel reform since 1843. The Libel Reform Campaign has been one of the most successful NGO campaigns of recent years, dominating the legal, media, and public discourse on these laws.
This discussion on the Libel Reform Campaign (supported by the Open Society Foundations) will cover:
- What was the impetus for the campaign and how it developed from a piece of policy research into an international campaign?
- What the effect of English libel law is on freedom of expression within the UK, and how this continues to affect the US and wider world?
- How has this campaign forced politicians to rework an arcane area of law, and what are the lessons for other NGO campaigning?