Some ex-councillors and current councillors are getting a bit tetchy about what is published on this blog. Because they have been exposed as incompetent buffoons with little or no understanding of proper procedures, failing to declare an interest, wrongly putting agenda items into secret session coupled with the financial literacy of a five year old they think they can undermine APCW with vague mutterings about ‘libel’ or ‘reputational damage’. You wish.
New libel laws aimed at giving better protection to people expressing their opinions came into force in England and Wales on January 1st 2014.
Claimants will have to show they have suffered “serious harm” before suing, under the Defamation Act 2013. The government said the law would reverse the “chilling effect” current libel laws have had on freedom of expression and legitimate debate.
Journalists, scientists and academics have faced unfair legal threats for fairly criticising a company, person or product in the past, the Ministry of Justice said. It said the Act would provide “clearer, better protection for people publicly expressing opinions”, while campaigners said it was “good news for free speech” but urged Northern Ireland to follow suit.
The Defamation Act 2013 contains a series of measures, including:
- “New serious harm threshold” aimed at helping people to understand when claims should be brought and discourage wasteful use of court time
- Protection for scientists and academics publishing peer-reviewed material in scientific and academic journals
- Protection for those publishing material on a matter of public interest where they reasonably believe that it is in the public interest
- Libel tourism targeted by tightening the test for claims involving those with little connection to England and Wales being brought before the courts
- Introduction of a new process aimed at helping potential victims of defamation online, by resolving the dispute directly with the person who has posted the statement
- Single-publication rule to prevent repeated claims against a publisher about the same material
Justice minister Shailesh Vara said: “As a result of these new laws, anyone expressing views and engaging in public debate can do so in the knowledge that the law offers them stronger protection against unjust and unfair threats of legal action.
There you have it. If you act and speak like an idiot and forget why you were/are elected, fail to read and understand an agenda and insist on non-public participation in the decision making process to spend large sums of public money you will be named and shamed.