Thursday, March 23, 2017


Press release on S.B. 1020: : An Act Concerning the Enforcement of a Defamation Judgment Entered by a Court Outside of the United States

Hartford, CT – S.B. 1020: An Act Concerning the Enforcement of a Defamation Judgment Entered by a Court Outside of the United States, which defends the First Amendment rights of Connecticut citizens, will receive a public hearing before the Judiciary Committee on Monday, March 27 at 10 AM in Room 2B of the Legislative Office Building. 

The proposal, raised as a committee bill under the title An Act Concerning the Enforcement of Foreign Libel Judgments, protects authors, journalists, speakers and publishers against spurious libel and defamation suits by allowing Connecticut courts to refuse to consider libel suits filed in countries with a lower standard of free speech than we enjoy here in the U.S.

“We have a growing problem with what’s called ‘libel tourism,’” said Jane Bate, a Connecticut chapter leader of ACT for America, an organization for the protection of basic human rights around the world.  “People who want to silence American writers bring suit in a country without our constitutional freedoms where their work is distributed.

“The tactic has resulted in authors having to destroy their books and pay exorbitant settlement fees to plaintiffs despite the accuracy and careful documentation of the defendant’s writing. The result has been a severe chilling of free speech.”

The Free Speech Defense Act has been passed in ten states: New York, Tennessee, Utah, Louisiana, Florida, Oklahoma, South Dakota, California, Maryland and Illinois, with the vote unanimous in New York, Utah, Louisiana, Florida, California, Maryland, and Illinois. The SPEECH Act, a federal version of the legislation, was also passed unanimously and signed into law by President Obama, but was later found to be flawed and, therefore, unusable. Additionally, organizations across the political spectrum support this measure, from the American Library Association to the ACLU.

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“Free speech is the fundamental right on which all others rest, the first we must establish and defend to be free citizens,” said State Senator Joe Markley, who introduced the bill in Connecticut.  “Complete liberty of political discourse is a core American value, to be maintained against enemies foreign and domestic.  This law is the clear assertion of an indispensable right, and I am proud to sponsor it.”

For more information, please visit the American Public Policy Alliance website, click on “Legislation,” then click on “Free Speech Protection.” Feel free to email with questions.

Testimony may be e-mailed to or may be given orally at the public hearing.

Contact: Jane Bate (  

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