Ironic goings on at The Times, where Heather Brooke wrote a piece last week condemning the chilling effect UK libel laws have on internet freedom of speech.
The piece, which condemns the ease with which Ã¢â‚¬Å“rich, litigious bulliesÃ¢â‚¬ can get stories taken down from websites, hasÃ¢â‚¬¦ erÃ¢â‚¬¦ been taken down.
Writing about the recent Mumsnet libel settlement, Brooke said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“No matter that the publishers of Mumsnet didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even write the comments that author Gina Ford claimed defamed her.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Under the Defamation Act 1996 non-authors can be held liable if they fail to expeditiously remove comments someone thinks are defamatory. But how quick is quick? The Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts said that the comments were taken down after little more than 24 hours.Ã¢â‚¬
Writing on her website, a little more than 24 hours after her Times article was published, Brooke said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Well no sooner do I write about EnglandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s draconian libel laws and the chilling effect they have on freedom of expression then I hear word that the solicitor for self-proclaimed childcare Ã¢â‚¬ËœexpertÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Gina Ford has complained to The Times about my piece and they have now removed my article from their website while they deal with the complaint.Ã¢â‚¬