U.S. bill fights “libel tourism”

An editorial in the New York Times urges the American Senate to support legislation to prevent American courts from enforcing libel judgments obtained in foreign countries if those countries provide less free speech protection than the United States does.

Excerpts: “The bill on “libel tourism” strikes an important blow for free expression. American law imposes a high bar on libel lawsuits — far higher than many other countries.”

“Foreign libel suits have a chilling effect on free speech in the United States. They make American authors think twice about writing on some subjects. Even if what they write is true, they may face the expense of defending a libel lawsuit in Britain brought by a wealthy plaintiff.”

The crux of this, for non-Americans, is whether America really holds the high ground on freedom of speech protection.