Defamation Reform

The overall aim of the campaign is to update and reform defamation law so that it:
* Accurately reflects the modern media landscape, offering effective protection for freedom of expression
* Ensures reputations can be protected in a manner available to everyone, not solely the rich and powerful
* Provides safeguards for individuals from companies or those with powerful interests seeking to silence reasonable criticism and comment


In January 2019, the Scottish Government announced a public consultation on defamation reform. This was a huge step towards reform our out-of-date and inadequate defamation laws and is a key step towards bringing forward new legislation to Scottish Parliament. Thank you to everyone who responded to this, as we await a response from the Scottish Government.

On Monday 12th August, we sent a letter, signed by 181 Scottish and international writers calling on the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon to commit to defamation reform by including it in the 2019 Programme for Government. This will ensure that a reform bill will be brought forward in the next parliamentary session.

Read the letter here


Scottish PEN is working with a range of partners to reform defamation law in Scotland. The existing legislation severely undermines freedom of expression, limiting the ability of media outlets, bloggers, social media users and civil society to share information in the public interest. The ability for the powerful to chill free speech demonstrates a challenge to Scotland’s ongoing commitment to protecting fundamental freedoms.

The overall aim of the campaign is to update and reform defamation law so that it:

Specific points we see as essential to the reformed law include:


Case studies

Op-Eds & Articles

Latest news and writing from Defamation Reform