Ben Lowry: Too steep a bill for Phil Flanagan

Sinn Fein MLA Phil Flannagan
Sinn Fein MLA Phil Flannagan

The rewriting of history to portray the British state as murderous is despicable, and I wrote explicitly about the trend on this page last week.

Therefore I welcome the fact that a court has unequivocally come down against Phil Flanagan’s disgraceful libel on Tom Elliott MP.

It is important that people who write wildly defamatory slurs on social media, which can be a forum for vile abuse, know that they will be held to account.

This might in the case of the most extreme libels result in a financial liability running to thousands of pounds.

But I am uneasy, to put it mildly, that an individual is facing a bill of £50k damages and the same or more in costs – a ruinous total sum running into six figures.

An individual who foolishly tweets something that is both nasty and inaccurate is quite different to a wealthy media organisation stating the same.

It is going to take some time for the law to find the appropriate balance in the social media age between the right of freedom of expression and the competing (and crucial) right of people to protect their reputation.

Ben Lowry: Lucky baby boomers reach their three score years and ten

Ben Lowry: Sad to see Jeb Bush sink