A high-profile SNP MP has acted disproportionately and deeply troublingly by taking legal action against a Scottish actor for an allegedly defamatory tweet, a Scottish charity has said.
The Herald reported on Sunday that Joanna Cherry wrote to actor and River City star David Paisley asking him to pay her 2,000 legal fees and donate 500 to a charity of her choice after questioning her support for a other lawyer.
The lawsuit was launched after the MP challenged the actor questioning his support for a campaign to challenge the police registration of controversial social media posts about religion and transgender people as that hate speech.
The action has been described as potentially creating a chilling effect on attempts to hold power accountable, the Scottish charity PEN said.
In a report, the organization said: Scottish PEN believes that reasonable questions should be asked of elected officials when it is in the public interest, without fear of prosecution.
“We find these threats disproportionate and deeply disturbing.
“While the libel law serves to protect against unfair damage to reputation, it should not be used by those in positions of power as a means to silence fair comment or criticism.
He said: The whole situation has cost me a lot. Not only have I been asked to pay thousands of pounds just to ask a question, but I have had these horrible things said about myself which I fear will impact my reputation in the future.
“I have had threats to my safety and having to document all of this and report it to the police is also triggering and traumatic.
“People who show up at my job and complain about my job are just bogus because I support the rights of transgender people.”
Reply on TwitterMs Cherry said it was wrong to say that legal action was taken because there was no such action in court. However, she said she was entirely within my right to take steps to protect my reputation.
Ms Cherry said: Article 10 of the ECHR (which is part of Scottish law) protects the right to freedom of expression. It specifically declares that the exercise of this right entails duties and responsibilities and may be subject to restrictions or sanctions prescribed by law and necessary in a democratic society.
“This is what allows us to legislate to criminalize hate speech and this is why individuals, including Members of Parliament, have the right to take action to protect their rights and their reputation when people tell lies to them. their subject.
Defamatory allegations about my stance on trans rights by actors like the actor in question and others have effectively put a target on my back and led to online abuse and threats of sexual violence which now make the news. subject to criminal charges.
In these circumstances, I have every right to take steps to protect my reputation and personal safety. My partner and I have been through hell with it all and we would appreciate being left in peace for a while.
“I hope @ScottishPEN will take note of my position.
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