The Internet Services Providers’ Association welcomes the publication of the Joint Committee report on the Draft Defamation Bill.

We believe that the current regulatory framework for libel law insufficiently addresses the way content is published in the digital environment which ultimately has a chilling effect on freedom of speech. When notified of potentially defamatory content, it is simply not possible for online service providers to conduct a full and objective assessment of a defamation claim without knowledge of the background facts.

ISPA supports the Committee’s recommendation that Government should reduce the pressure on online hosts and service providers to take down material whenever it is challenged as being defamatory and particularly welcome the Committee’s suggestion of moving to a court-based notice and takedown procedure for identifiable content as we recommended in our evidence.

We note with interest what the Committee is proposing in relation to anonymous online postings and the promotion of cultural change and look forward to working with Parliament and the Ministry of Justice to make the UK libel law fit for the online age.

Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General, Internet Service Providers Association: “ISPA believes that the current regulatory framework for libel law insufficiently addresses the way content is published and conveyed in the digital environment. We welcome the Joint Committee’s report and urge Government to adopt a court based system that provides clarity to all parties involved and believe that a failure to provide a clear and workable regulatory framework for online content will not only have a chilling effect on freedom of speech, but will also undermine any efforts to protect robust scientific and academic debate more effectively.”


Notes to the editor:

The Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA) was established in 1995 as a trade association to represent providers of Internet services in the UK. ISPA promotes competition, self-regulation and the development of the Internet industry. For a list of members or other information about ISPA, please consult the website:

The views expressed in this release are those of the Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA) and do not necessarily reflect the corporate policies of the individual companies that are members of the Association or other organisations that may be mentioned in the release. For further editorial information please contact the ISPA Press Office (020 7340 8741).