The Corner

Steynophobia: The Logical Extension of Libel Tourism

John and Jonah are exactly right about how important it is to defend Mark vigorously, and I’d add that Stanley could not be more right on the close connection between the calculated attacks on Mark and the wave of “libel tourism” — by which prominent Saudis, upset at reports linking the Kingdom to terror funding, have made a practice of finding friendly forums (like Great Britain) in which to file libel suits that, though they would be frivolous under American law, are frighteningly valid under the laws of other countries which (a) lack both a First Amendment and free-expression values, and (b) are slaves to political correctness.  The suits intimidate not only journalists and scholars but the publishers and benefactors who would otherwise promote their work — and the public is ill-served because the we don’t get the free flow of information on which good public policy depends.

What is to be done?  I tried to wrestle with this question in this article for Human Events a while back — discussing the case of Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld — who has tried to fight back by filing a counter-suit (much like John suggests).

As I argue at the end of the piece, I think ultimately we are going to need some legislation — a federal cause of action against those who intentionally use foreign courts to attempt to suppress American free expression rights.  We also need diplomatic pressure to be brought to bear against the countries that are the practitioners of this anti-democratic extortion racket and the countries that allow their courts and other official institutions to serve the purpose.

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