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Friday, 18 September 2009

Science journalism and libel laws – ABSW annual lecture

This year's ABSW annual lecture, on 15the October, will be a debate about science journalism and the libel laws. The event is being produced in association with City University, to celebrate the launch of City's MA course in Science Journalism.

ABSW members have up to 100 guaranteed places at this event on October 15th, but they must book their places by the end of the month (September 30th). After this, unused places will be released to the public.

Booking is through City University's website, entry is free.

To ensure that you reserve one of the guaranteed places, when you are filling in the booking form please provide the information "I am an ABSW member" in the drop down box which asks "Where did you hear about this event".

Science Fact science journalism and libel law

  • Simon Singh, freelance science journalist and author of Trick or Treatment?

  • Ben Goldacre, columnist, doctor and author of Bad Science

  • John Kampfner, Chief Executive, Index on Censorship

  • Duncan Lamont, libel lawyer and Head of Media & Entertainment at Charles Russell

  • Tracey Brown, Managing Director, Sense About Science

Science journalists Simon Singh and Ben Goldacre have both been sued in the past year for libel. They challenged the scientific method and evidence behind the use of chiropractic treatment for children (Singh) and the role of multivitamins to combat HIV/AIDS in South Africa (Goldacre).

After long court battles, Goldacre won his case, with the financial support of the Guardian, but Singh lost and faces the prospect of mounting an expensive appeal.

Should scientific debate be silenced by the use of English libel laws, thereby keeping the public in the dark? What are the wider implications for journalism and is there a pressing need for reform of the English libel laws?

Thursday October 15 2009 Time:7:00 PM

Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre, City University London, Northampton Square, London, EC1V 0HB

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