[ExI] Alcock on Bem in Skeptical Inquirer.

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Sat Dec 11 13:19:52 UTC 2010

2010/12/9 John Clark <jonkc at bellsouth.net>

> Given our idiotic legal system you could be right. James (The Amazing)
> Randi has been sued by Uri Geller many times for pointing out the obvious
> fact that the man was a fraud, and one time he even won; a court in Japan
> found Randi guilty not of libel but of "insult", in Japan it can be illegal
> to say something bad about someone even if its true.

In Italy it is definitely illegal to say something bad about someone even if
it is true (you cannot call "whore" a whore, e.g., for the purpose of
insulting her), unless the plaintiff in the libel action expressly grants
his opponent the broadening of the scope to the case to the merits of the
accusation (which is normally done, since failure to do so is usually
considered as a public admission by the plaintiff of the truth of what he is
blamed  of).

As far as I can tell, the US system is somewhat practically more inclined to
favour freedom of speech than the continental or the English system, but the
principles per se are not so different (see
http://www.spawn.org/marketing/slander.htm), since the "truth" is  very far
from being a blanket defence a libel action even there.

What makes the difference in most circumstances, however, is that you may
well factually hallenge the truth of a claim or the competence of the
claimant without calling him a "liar" or an "idiot".

Stefano Vaj
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