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

Update

December 2019

On Monday 2nd December, the Defamation and Malicious Publication (Scotland) Bill was introduced to Scottish Parliament. This follows an earlier Scottish Government Public Consultation earlier this year.

View the bill, policy memorandum and explanatory notes here – https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/113613.aspx

Read the Scottish PEN statement on the bill introduced to parliament here: https://scottishpen.org/defamation-bill-introduced-to-parliament/

August 2019

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


Background

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