Leis insensatas

PARIS – “Se a lei supõe isso”, diz o Sr. Bumble em Oliver Twist, “a lei é ridícula – idiota”. Durante décadas, as leis da difamação da Grã-Bretanha viveram abaixo das expectativas do Sr. Bumble. Mas a liberdade de expressão em todo o mundo recebeu um impulso - e a reputação da Grã-Bretanha para o senso comum, restabeleceu-se um pouco – em Abril, quando o Parlamento adoptou uma lei que muda as leis da difamação do país.

Anteriormente, as empresas e os particulares de todo o mundo, que alegavam terem sido difamados - mesmo que os demandantes ou aqueles que supostamente os difamaram tivessem pouca ou nenhuma ligação com o Reino Unido - apresentavam processos por difamação nos tribunais britânicos. A prática era amplamente conhecida como “turismo da difamação”.

Muitos dos demandantes que intentavam tais acções judiciais - oligarcas russos e ucranianos, príncipes árabes, ditadores africanos e patrões sem escrúpulos - tinham poucas hipóteses de ganhar. Mas o objetivo não era ganhar. Muitas vezes, os seus alvos tinham muito menos recursos, o que significava que um processo por difamação que exigia o gasto de montantes elevados por ambas as partes, poderia ser eficaz para silenciar os críticos, mesmo que o processo não resultasse. No Reino Unido, a lei significava que muitas questões importantes não poderiam ser plenamente debatidas.

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