Freedom of Expression,  Libel Laws

Disgraceful action against Dorries

The Guardian reports on yet another unacceptable use of the law to silence discussion on the internet:

Nadine Dorries, the Conservative frontbencher who claimed the Daily Telegraph’s revelations on expenses could drive MPs to suicide, has had her blog shut down by lawyers acting for the newspaper.

The virtually unprecedented action against a serving MP came after Dorries was disowned by her party leader, David Cameron, and described as “wacky” by senior Conservative sources. She had claimed that MPs were being “tortured” by the Telegraph’s dripfeed of revelations.

The newspaper is understood to have acted after she made further allegations concerning the motivation of the newspaper’s proprietors, Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay. Withers, the lawyers acting for the Barclay brothers, are understood to have instructed the takedown, invoking the acceptable user policy used by internet service providers to protect themselves against libel action provoked by comments on websites they host.

You read the offending comments here.

On the plus side, at least if the political class starts to get stung by this sort of activity more often, there may be more chance of future changes in legislation.