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Submitted by Matthew on Sat, 21/05/2011 - 10:22

"The only sensible way to equalise things financially is by a massive extension of legal aid to cover libel."

Or we could just abolish the libel laws. The First Amendment to the US Constitution guaranteeing free speech means the ability to sue for libel there is much more restricted, which is of course why plaintiffs head for Britain to make their claims. Socialists would defend the First Amendement and indeed the rest of the Bill of Rights so by logical extension we should be for the abolition of the libel laws (whether you have a privacy law is another question).

In a situation without libel laws, an individual who thought that the press had reported something untruthful about them could simply issue a statement denying the claim or refuse to comment. Indeed, much of the publicity in high-profile libel cases (and now with super-injunctions) is generated not by the stories themselves - replaced in the public mind by the next week's "celebrity revelations" - but the insistence of those who claim to have been wronged (Aitken, Archer, the Hamiltons, Tommy Sheridan etc.) on dragging the issue through the courts.

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