Amazing, again, how messed up England is. Interesting article with clear discussion of the problem of assignment of burden of proof.
English libel law is the opposite of America’s in many ways. In the United States, the plaintiff, or accuser, must prove that the statement in question was false; public officials must also prove that it was made maliciously, with “reckless disregard” for the truth.
In England (Scotland has its own system), the burden of proof rests on the defendant, whose statements are presumed false and who has to establish that they are true.
It is not only news organizations that are running afoul of the law. Environmentalists, anticorruption campaigners, medical researchers and soccer fans posting criticisms of their teams on blogs have all been sued or threatened with legal action in recent years.