Amazon.co.uk pulls ‘libellous’ book from shelves

But The Committee still available from US site

Amazon.co.uk has cleared its shelves of Sean McPhilemy's book, The Committee, after a senior Northern Irish politician sued the e-bookshop for libel. David Trimble, Northern Ireland's First Minister and a joint Nobel Peace Prizewinner, claims that the book contains defamatory allegations about his past. Despite Amazon's decision, it is still advertising the book by on its UK Web site. If someone tries to buy the book they are shown a message explaining that, due to legal action, the book has been withdrawn from sale. Amazon.co.uk's parent company, Amazon.com, confirmed it will continue to sell the book in the US where, in its own words, "the laws relating to defamation encourage free speech". Indeed, a statement issued to press last night by Amazon.co.uk's MD made an impassioned plea about censorship affirming the e-bookstore's commitment to free speech. The full text of the statement can be read here In a mood of defiance he said: "Let us be clear. There are no government or court restrictions on selling this book in the UK." Under UK law Amazon.co.uk was left with no choice but to withdraw the book from sale, he said. While Amazon's stand is laudable, it could be interpreted as being highly provocative if the libel action ever gets to court. ®

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