Sense about Science ? equipping people to make sense of science and evidence
Keep libel laws out of science
Sense About Science launched the Keep Libel Laws out of Science campaign in June 2009, calling for reform of the libel laws to protect open scientific discussion.
We encourage scientists to enter public debates on science and we support open discussion about scientific research so when we became aware that our libel laws were chilling scientific discussion, we knew we had to act. We objected to several high profile cases brought against scientists and were inundated with correspondence from hundreds of scientific researchers, patient groups, writers and publishers around the world about libel threats being used to silence scientific debate.
Our timeline of events shows Sense About Science’s story since June 2009 to our work today as part of the Libel Reform Campaign with writers' organisation English PEN and free-speech organisation Index on Censorship. The groundswell of support for the campaign led to all three main political parties including reform of the libel laws in their manifestoes at the 2010 UK General Election and the Government publishing a draft Defamation Bill in March 2011. This is our first chance in a century to changes laws which have drawn international criticism.
We are working with medical and scientific groups and our supporters to ensure that changes made to the laws are substantial and meaningful. Add your voice, follow progress and get involved at www.libelreform.org
- Reforming Libel: What must a Defamation Bill achieve?
- So you've had a threatening letter. What can you do?
- What should a Defamation Bill contain?