Standards of conduct that determine how news should be gathered, reported and edited.
A false statement that damages someone's reputation.
(Invasion of) Privacy
The illegal or inappropriate use of personal information about someone in a publication or broadcast.
A reaction that makes the media more reluctant to aggressively pursue news on controversial issues.
5 Key Points of Proof in Libel Suits
1) The info. must be false
2) The person libeled must be clearly identified, not necessarily by name
3) The info. must have been published or otherwise viewed by an audience
4) The reputation of the person must have been damaged as a result
5) The news organization must be shown to have been at fault for the libelous info.; accuracy
Truth-Telling as a Right and a Duty
The publication of criminal charges is not only legitimate, it is important to the public interest. Emphasis on provable truth
The Privilege Defense
Technically qualified privilege; gives the media the right to report what people say at government meetings
The Opinion Defense (Fair Comment and Criticism)
Applies to editorial criticisms of government, other kinds of opinionated commentary, and reviews of books, plays, restaurants and other products and services. Has evolved to protect the news media's right to give opinions on the public performance of people who voluntarily put themselves in the spotlight, including politicians
Other Libel Protections
1) Reputation is relative: reputation defined broadly, but not all reputations are equal. More difficult to damage a bad reputation than a good one
2) You cannot libel the dead: can besmirch their legacy, but can't affect his/her future
3) Libel claims have limits: lawsuits must be filed within a specific time frame
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