Simon Can’t Say, ctd
One of my favorite science writers at The New York Times shares her thoughts on the Simon Singh libel case. She worries it is having a chilling effect on science journalism because science writers will be too worried to be too critical of someone.
The problem the libel laws create is not so much that critical stories can’t be written, but that they won’t be. As the conversations I had this summer show, for many journalists and their employers the potential for a libel case is a powerful deterrent to criticism: the pieces aren’t worth the hassle. Singh has commented that “if I successfully defend my article, I will have had to have put my career on hold for probably two years, and it will cost me perhaps £25,000 [about $41,500] because I am unlikely to recover all my costs. And if I lose my case, then it will cost me roughly £500,000 [$800,000]. Fighting and winning is bad enough; fighting and losing is catastrophic.”