Friday, 2 March 2012
libel laws - sue in England
I have not formulated my opinion on the English libel laws - writers I admire and tend to agree with, like Nick Cohen, whose book 'You Can't Read This Book' I am currently reading, seem to have taken the view that the English libel law is Bad because it only serves to protect Rich Men. Well, he may have a point. But the fact that the English libel law currently fails to protect people who are not rich (the nurse who was dubbed a poisoner, and Christopher Jefferies, who was dubbed a murderer) does not necessarily in my view mean that it should be abolished. And I was a little perturbed that Cohen, when referring to the Roman Polanski case in which he sued in England, though he is not British (he is a French-born person of Polish parentage) for his character, wrote that Polanski's "lifestyle" (he likes women) is pertinent to any libel or defamation case, because Polanski is a "convicted sex offender" (he is) because it seems to me that such a view is wrong and possibly dangerous. A person's lifestyle is neither here nor there, unless, for example, their frequenting of S and M clubs might lead one to believe that S and M activity used in the commission of a crime might lead the long arm of the law to suspect that person. Being a "party girl" who does not much like her job does not lead to the belief that a person is thereby a poisoner of elderly people. Having slightly odd blue hair does not lead one to the belief that a person is a murderer. I think the libel law debate, if debate there is, is becoming dangerously simplified. Views?