Stephen Fry leads call for to save libel reform

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By John Glenday | Reporter

March 7, 2013 | 2 min read

Stephen Fry has joined forces with some of Britain’s leading authors and playwrights to pen an open letter to party leaders calling on them not to allow proposed reform of England’s libel laws to fall by the wayside in the wake of Leveson.

Signatories including Stephen Fry, Sir Tom Stoppard, William Boyd, Margaret Drabble, Ian McEwan and Sir Salman Rushdie want David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Milliband to honour their commitment to implement the defamation bill and not let it become entangled in an ongoing row over the Leveson report.

In the letter the group state that it is ‘entirely inappropriate, and even reckless, for libel reform to be sacrificed to the current political stalemate’ pointing out that scientists, authors, journalists and activists have been silenced by the present onerous regime.

They describe the present legal environment as a ‘national disgrace’ and are worried that amendments inserted into the bill by Lord Puttnam last month could see the initiative collapse.

In their letter the authors warn: "If the law is not reformed, bullies will continue to be able to prevent the publication of stories that are often not only in the public interest, but a matter of public health and safety,"

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