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LIBEL


 

THE FIRST AMENDMENT

WHAT IS LIBEL?

-PUBLISHED DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER THAT EXPOSES A PERSON TO HATRED, SHAME, DISGRACE, CONTEMPT OR RIDICULE

-INJURE A PERSON'S REPUTATION OR CAUSE THE PERSON TO BE SHUNNED OR AVOIDED

-INJURE THE PERSON IN HIS OR HER OCCUPATION

TIMES VS. SULLIVAN

"ACTUAL MALICE" - TIMES VS. SULLIVAN MAKES IT CLEAR THAT NO PUBLIC OFFICIAL CAN RECOVER DAMAGES FOR DEFAMATION IN A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE CONCERNING HIS OR HER OFFICIAL CONDUCT UNLESS HE OR SHE CAN PROVE THE ARTICLE IS DEFAMATORY AND FALSE AND ALSO SHOW THAT:

1. THE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE THAT IT WAS FALSE

2. THE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED WITH RECKLESS DISREGARD OF WHETHER OR NOT IT WAS FALSE.

LIBEL CHECKLIST

DEFENSES AGAINST LIBEL:

1. TRUTH - LIBEL PLAINTIFFS CAN'T WIN A LAWSUIT IF THE STATEMENTS IN QUESTION ARE SHOWN TO BE TRUE

2. PRIVILEGE - ACCURATE REPORTS OF OFFICIAL MEETINGS ARE CONSIDERED PRIVILEGED INFORMATION

3. FAIR COMMENT AND CRITICISM - EDITORIALS, REVIEWS

DEFENSE AGAINST LIBEL

PRIVILEGE

ACTUAL MALICE

LIBEL TERMS