Tuesday, 17 September 2013

31 Writers and Poets Call for Stormont action on libel reform

Thirty-one leading writers, poets and playwrights – including novelists Colm Toibin, Roddy Doyle, Sebastian Barry,  Graham Linehan, Brian Keenan, academic and political analyst Lord Bew, poet Michael Longley and Lucy Caldwell have signed a letter to the First and Deputy First Minister Mr Robinson and Minister Martin McGuinness urging action to ensure that Northern Ireland does not become a forum for libel bullies.

They said that without reform to the libel system that "the people of Northern Ireland will enjoy fewer free speech protections than fellow citizens in England and Wales".

Their letter concluded:
"We call upon the Executive to redress this imbalance, and breathe life into the right that underpins all other rights: our right to freedom of speech."
The newly instllaed Finance Minister Simon Hamilton has commissioned an official report on the new Westminster legislation which will examine whether or not the new law should be extended here A public consultation on Mike Nesbitt's Bill was launched on Thursday 19 September.

Read more in full here.

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