After 2 years slogging through an expensive libel case brought against him by the British Chiropractic Association, journalist and science writer Simon Singh was finally vindicated on Thursday when the BCA dropped their libel suit. Medical bullshit-buster Ben Goldacre wrote a piece on the good news, and you can read the original article by Singh published in The Guardian in 2008. When the BCA sued Singh for apparently defaming their medically dubious profession, the article was forced to be taken down from the Guardian website. Since the libel case was dropped, it has been reinstated, to the cheers of intelligent folk across the land.
Now the push for libel law reform in the UK begins in earnest. Singh’s victory, though a sweet one, is only over one battle in a much larger war, a conflict that pits evidence-based medicine and rigorous science against the legions of bogus alternative therapies and their fraudulent claims. Without a legal system that protects free speech and scientific criticism, quacks, charlatans and witch-doctors will continue to threaten the health and welfare of gullible citizens, unchallenged by critics gagged with dysfunctional libel laws.
Let’s hope the UK gets the libel law reform it so obviously needs.