U.S House Takes First Step to Protect Free Speech
Against “Libel Tourists”
Washington, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives today passed H.R. 6146, crucial legislation that will protect American citizens from foreign libel judgments that undermine their fundamental First Amendment free speech rights.
Dr. Ehrenfeld knows first-hand the effects of this destructive practice of forum shopping. She was sued in Britain, where the libel laws are plaintiff friendly, by Saudi billionaire Khalid Salim bin Mahfouz for alleging in her book Funding Evil: How Terrorism Is Financed and How to Stop It, that he funded al-Qaeda.
Rep. Peter King, who initiated the federal legislation agrees with Dr. Ehrenfeld, stating that although he support H.R. 6146, “this bill does not go far enough nor does it resolve the problem of “libel tourism.” Even Rep. Cohen, the author of H.R. 6146, acknowledged his bill is not enough to “ address libel tourism,” and stated on the floor of the House that he is “committed to working with Mr. King to push for a public hearing… which advances additional measures to address libel tourism.”
Indeed, the ACLU, the American Library Association, the Association of American Publishers, the PEN American Center, the Families of the 9/11 victims, and many others support the Free Speech Protection Act, 2008, sponsored by Senators Arlen Specter, Joseph Lieberman and Chuck Schumer, and Rep. Peter King.
Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld’s contact: [email protected]