The defamation act is very clear that stating something that is substantially true is not defamation. This makes sense, as nobody should be in trouble for stating the truth in any civilised society.
I recently attended an industry conference, and one of the speakers presented a very interesting talk on the possible abuse of a grant process that could have wasted some £600k of public money. He was very very careful to state the facts, information he obtained from public records, and present them clearly. He was careful to not even express his own honest opinion on these facts (something that is also allowed by the defamation act).
I was rather surprised to find that the speaker has suppressed the video of his talk - well, that is his right, to some extent, but the talk was to a forum that pretty much allows any member of the public to register and attend, so was something of a public speech, I feel.
What concerns me if that he is somehow under some pressure to suppress what was said. That would be worrying.
What I also find rather worrying is that some of the comments on twitter are adamant that my understanding of the law (that the truth is allowed) is some how naive and not reality.
It seems to suggest some chilling effect - that people cannot rely on the fact that what they are saying is true as a basis for stating it, and that somehow it could cause "hassle" even if technically correct. I was even told "when do you show your defence? is that before or after you file for bankruptcy? i forget." which suggests some massive chilling effect on this.
This is not right!
In a civilised society nobody should be afraid of stating the truth. Whatever the law says, the fact that there is a perception that one cannot safely state the truth is a problem which needs addressing.
Am I wrong?
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