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Law and the Media, 4th Edition by Estelle Overs, Tom Cassels, Tom Crone

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2 Blasphemy, Seditious Libel and Criminal Libel

David Green

2.1 Introduction

Those in the media can face criminal prosecution for the ancient offices of blasphemous libel, seditious libel and criminal libel. No modern government would (one hopes) bring these prosecutions. Public interest litigators seeking to punish, and publicize, violations of religious, political or personal sensibilities may, however, pursue private prosecutions. These are rare but not unknown.

The possibility of criminal sanctions against such exercises of free expression appears out of place in the era of the Human Rights Act 1998, which gives full effect in domestic law to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. However, the European Court of Human Rights ...

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