The Guardian’s Simon Singh Wins Libel Appeal; Brutally Defeating Enemies of Science
Well, it seems that lawmakers in the UK are feeling quite favorable to science-type persons this week! The BBC is reporting that Simon Singh, the high-profile science writer who was forced from The Guardian as the result of legal attacks from a medical industry pressure group, has won a temporary victory today.
For those of you who haven’t been following the story, it all began in 2008, when Singh wrote an article questioning the medical practices and business models of U.K. chiropractors. While The Guardian claims that the article led to one out of every four British chiropractors being investigated for making “misleading claims”, the British Chiropractic Association felt that their reputation had been unfairly maligned and leveled a legal suit against Singh. In May of 2009, a High Court decision came down the side of the BCA, effectively muzzling Singh.
From the BBC article:
“BBC News science correspondent Pallab Ghosh says that, had Justice Eady’s ruling stood, it would have made it difficult for any scientist or science journalist to question claims made by companies or organisations without opening themselves up to a libel action that would be hard to win.”
Singh has spent the past two years in the midst of these legal proceedings. He claims it has cost him $200,000 and recently he was forced to quit his day job to continue the fight. The case, in addition to bringing chiropractic industry under media scrutiny, has also strengthened calls for a reform of England’s plaintiff-friendly libel laws.
Can you imagine if our laws were the same as Ye Olde Bizarro Worlde (England)? The American Psychiatric Association could decide at any time to sue Tom Cruise for his anti-medication comments, costing a bundle and keeping him from continuing to bankroll the Church of Scientology…
…Wait a second. Which side are we arguing for here?