The objects and reasons of this Bill are the updating of the laws on defamation, the abolition of criminal libel in media laws, the introduction of the new civil tort of slander, and the regulation of web-based news and current affairs services.
The Bill includes various provisions which strengthen freedom of the media by seeking to avoid disproportionate restrictions on journalists in actions in libel whilst protecting the victims of libel and slander through an increase in the amounts of moral damages that may be awarded.
It also encourages increased use of alternative means of dispute resolution such as the right of reply, voluntary clarifications, mediation and other practical means of avoiding libel litigation or the protraction thereof.
The Bill also includes consequential amendments to the Criminal Code in order to retain some of the criminal offences provided for in the Press Act, and to the Code of Organization and Civil Procedure in order to prohibit the issue of precautionary warrants against journalists.
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