Global Speech and Global Terrorism: A Tall Tale of Two Cities
Northern Ireland Legal Quartlerly, vol.63, pp.119-136
18 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2012
Date Written: April 2, 2012
Part 1 will consider why many of the key libel cases at the heart of libel tourism have arisen from terrorism-related speech. It will be necessary to reflect upon why late modernity engenders speech about terrorism across borders. Part 2 tackles the recent practice of libel tourism itself, as related to the paradigm case of allegations about involvement in terrorism. It explains the relevant English libel law litigation, based in London, and the U.S. reactions to it, initially hatched in New York. Part 3 suggests why this apparently contrasting tale of two cities might be a “tall tale”. The paper does not deny the different approaches and outcomes in libel laws in the respective jurisdictions. Rather, its point is to set those differences in the wider context of the legal treatment of speech about terrorism. If one considers public law rights to speech about the state as well as private law rights to speech about persons, a more balanced picture emerges. In that light, U.S. reactions to speech about terrorism and the restrictions imposed are in some ways more threatening than those on the other side of the Atlantic.
Keywords: Terrorism, libel, free expresion, freedom of information
JEL Classification: K19, K42, N40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation