Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 1 November 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

Libel law fears are nonsense: Sammy Wilson

Sammy Wilson
Sammy Wilson

Stormont should wait and see if changes to defamation legislation result in "libel tourism", the Assembly has been told.

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson told MLAs he believed that fears the changes will mean less freedom for the media here are a "load of nonsense".

The minister said, however: "There is no question of suppressing freedom of speech.

"The idea that, somehow or other, as a result of this Act going through Westminster and us not implementing it, freedom of speech is being suppressed in Northern Ireland is just a lot of nonsense."

But Alban Maginness of the SDLP asked Mr Wilson how he would go about a review.

Mr Wilson replied: "One concern has been that it could lead to libel tourism. Let us see whether that is the case or whether, as a result of our not being in step with England and Wales, the freedom of the Press is much more severely curtailed here in Northern Ireland than it would be in England and Wales."

The Defamation Bill does not apply to Northern Ireland.

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