Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Guardian Goes After the Telegraph on Free Speech Issues

The internet – a threat to free speech?

The closure of Nadine Dorries's blog simply on suspicion of defamation demonstrates that it's time for a reform of libel laws

It's probably not the best time to be seen defending an MP, but here goes. Conservative MP Nadine Dorries has been pilloried for likening the Daily Telegraph's handling of the MPs' expenses story to "torture" – drip-feeding information and keeping MPs waiting nervously by the phone each morning, awaiting the dreaded call. On her blog, Dorries questioned the motives of the Telegraph and its owners, the ­Barclay brothers, in this tactic.

The Daily Telegraph objected to Dorries' allegations that it may not have been acting entirely in the public interest. As the Conservative blogger Dizzy reported, the Barclays were upset by the Tory MP's claim that they had a political interest in driving people away from mainstream parties, a claim dismissed as "nonsense" in a letter to Dorries from their solicitors, Withers, demanding the removal of the "defamatory material".

Archbishop Cramner joins in the attack on the Barclay Brothers here

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