Scary libel stories…

Simon McGarr says that one way of silencing blogs is to apply to your server’s host to get them to shut you down. But he also notes that making a claim in public that you have libelled someone is libel itself. If you are served with papers, you have to respond. Once someone takes an action against you, you have to fight it. Although he also quotes the McLibel case which established a UK precedent for people charged with libel to get civil legal aid. See also Simon’s piece on the possible implications of the new defamation bill.

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  • “one way of silencing blogs is to apply to your server’s host to get them to shut you down”

    Tis only a temporary solution and some server hosts won’t necessarily take any action on you anyway.

    Do you know what the situation is in Ireland wrt legal aid?

  • William Joyce

    But he also notes that making a claim in public that you have libelled someone is libel itself.

    Ahem. Simple Simon is wrong here. If posters here post that William, Joyce (me) is a Nazi, that might well be libel as it is most likely maicious. If I say that they are libeling me by calling me a Nazi (which I deny), that is fair comment and, I argue, the truth. The truth is always a 100% defence against charges of libel. If I say your GAA correspondent portrays Nazi like sentiments regarding the GAA, if that is regards as fair comment, then there is no libel.
    I suggest these people study some law before blogging about it. This is to avoid dangers.
    No let’s get back to slagging off Steve Staunton and his team of wankers. (This is not to suggest they masturbate individually or collectively but it is to use a metaphor to suggest, given theur poor results, that they are a bad team, wankers to use the vernacular and to engage in fair comment)

  • Rory

    The truth is always a 100% defence against charges of libel.

    Not as I understand it, William Joyce. I believe that spreading an injurious truth about a third party with malicious intent and without good reason may also constitute libel in certain circumstances.

    On the wider issue it is to be hoped that given the craven self censorship of the press, radio and television and in particular where it suits their paymasters and their political lackeys that bloggers begin the fight and stand up to these censorious libel laws so that as one is challenged a thousand brother and sister bloggers rush in to take his place.

    We have technological samizdat at our fingertips and a miraculous means of propagating it. Future generations will not lightly forgive us if we shirk the opportunity to open up really free debate in the teeth of the repressive tools of those who would stifle it.

  • EWI

    But he also notes that making a claim in public that you have libelled someone is libel itself.

    Ahem. Simple Simon is wrong here. If posters here post that William, Joyce (me) is a Nazi, that might well be libel as it is most likely maicious. If I say that they are libeling me by calling me a Nazi (which I deny), that is fair comment and, I argue, the truth. The truth is always a 100% defence against charges of libel.

    I’m afraid it’s you who is ‘simple’ here, not Simon McGarr. He’s talking about false allegations of libel, of course. And Mr. McGarr is a qualified, practicing solicitor, so his knowledge of the law is a lot better than yours, I suspect.

  • William Joyce

    Rory: The Catholic Encyclopaedia gives a good starting run through of libel and the point you make is one of the contentious ones and is carried at some length. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09210a.htm

    EWI: I am not familiar with the case or the falsity you allude to. Again, as in the sister thread, I was discussing the general application, not the specific.