libel chill

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libel chill (uncountable)

  1. (law, idiomatic) Uneasiness or unwillingness to speak publicly or to write about a matter, as a result of the threat or suggestion of a libel action should one do so.
    • 1984 Dec. 16, William Vandersteel, "Defrosting Libel Chill," New York Times (retrieved 29 May 2014):
      Ira Glasser's Op-Ed article and Anthony Lewis's column of Dec. 10 both address the possible chilling effect on the press raised by the potential cost of defending against a libel action by a public official.
    • 1996 Feb. 3, Robert Winder, "Black humours," The Independent (UK) (retrieved 29 May 2014):
      Black enjoys being rude about others—he has an endearing habit of writing sharp letters to his own papers—while reserving the right to sue those who are rude about him. Even Siklos is forced to refer to the "libel chill" around Black.
    • 2010 Sept. 13, Alice Bell, "A physicist, a chemist and a zoologist walk into a bar . . .," The Guardian (UK) (retrieved 29 May 2014):
      There's been a lot of talk recently about the problem of "libel chill" on British science writing, that people self-censor for fear they'd be sued (as Simon Singh was by British Chiropractic Association).
    • 2013 April 15, Dale Hamilton, "Libel chill leaving writers out in the cold," Guelph Mercury (Canada) (retrieved 29 May 2014):
      It’s called “libel chill,” and it means too many writers are hesitating or even refraining from publishing work that goes against the grain for fear of being dragged through our trauma-inducing legal system.
    • 2014 May 29, Saurav Datta, "Hush — slander is a criminal offence in India," Index on Censorship (UK) (retrieved 29 May 2014):
      The businessman lost no time in slapping legal notices against every television channel which broadcast the conference. Libel chill, without a shred of doubt, for all the channels went silent.

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