A Us Author Has Declared War On Britain’s ‘Libel Imperialism’.

By The First Post | by Brendan O'Neill
Monday, November 13th, 2006 @ 8:03PM

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This is about defending my First Amendment rights.” Rachel Ehrenfeld, a New York author, has declared war on England’s ‘libel imperialism’. This week she will argue before the Federal Court of Appeals in Manhattan that a libel ruling made against her at the High Court in London in 2005 should be struck off as an infringement of her right to free speech. Ehrenfeld is a tough-talking anti-terrorist commentator, an American Melanie Phillips. After 9/11, which she witnessed from her flat, she wrote a book called Funding Evil. In the book, she made allegations about a Saudi billionaire, whom she accused of funding terrorism. He sued her – in London. “I’m an American citizen. My book was published in America. If he has any qualms with me, he should sue me here,” she says. The Saudi sued her in London on the basis that 23 copies of her book were bought by ‘I’m an American citizen. My book was published in America. If he has any qualms, about me, he should sue me here’ Britons via internet booksellers, and thus the libel was “repeated in Britain”. Ehrenfeld points out that, in America, claimants must prove not only that the accusations made against them are false, but also that they were made “with actual malice”. No wonder, she says, many of the rich and powerful around the world prefer to use England’s “claimant-friendly laws”. Ehrenfeld says the London ruling has had a “chilling effect on free speech”. Some US publishing houses are considering restricting the availability of their books in Britain. “We all suffer under your libel imperialism,” she says. Her appeal is supported by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Forbes Inc and Amazon.com. Other US outlets have been hit by our ‘libel imperialism’. Last year, Roman Polanski sued American magazine Vanity Fair in London, and won ᆪ50,000 damages. Earlier this year Britney Spears sued the Florida-based National Enquirer in Belfast. “It’s more than 200 years since America won independence from Britain, yet we’re still being punished by your archaic laws”, says Ehrenfeld.


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