Yesterday was the fiftieth anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s decision in the testy, tense libel case of New York Times v Sullivan. It’s an anniversary every Brit who believes in freedom should both celebrate and envy. We should celebrate it because the court’s decision struck a brilliant blow for press freedom and against defamation laws. Indeed, according to one account, ‘the practical effect [of the decision] was that defamation was effectively destroyed in America’. And we should envy it because, on this side of the pond, we remain saddled with illiberal, censorious libel laws better suited to the Middle Ages than to the twenty-first century. Fifty years after Sullivan, we in Britain need urgently to catch up with our American cousins by destroying our defamation laws, too.