Jeff John Roberts reports:
It was a powerful tool while it lasted. For years, wealthy people the world over could drag critics – including authors, publishers and media outlets – into London courtrooms and browbeat them with libel lawsuits. No matter if the defendants had no connection to England: the courts opened their doors all the same, and granted often dubious defamation awards to “libel tourists” from Europe, Russia and the Middle East. The winners would then collect by presenting the English judgment in foreign courtrooms, including American ones.
Today, the worst of libel tourism is over. Lawmakers moved to stop it after outcries over free expression. But now a new type of muzzling may be on the march in the form of aggressive privacy rulings, which some fear are breeding a new type of censorship tourist.
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