October 21, 2005

Briefing on Media Law

After reading the Briefing on Media Law in the AP Stylebook, I have realized that libel and slander can happen everywhere. Journalists should really watch what they say unless they are fair, impartial, and/or honest. But being honest doesn't necessarily set you free. People have to understand that the afflicted party has character, and if a journalist is mistaken, then they have just committed libel. Opinions should be few and far between. Personal remarks should never be spoken or written. Any way that a journalist is ruining someone's reputation, is committing libel. There are only four priveleges, opinions (rare), fair comment and criticism, fair report (which some journalists seem to follow), and neutral reportage (which most journalists seem to follow).

There are 3 major rules to the first amendment, when associated with journalism: A)The Public Official Rule (A public official must prove actual malice). B)The Public Figure Rule (The same rules apply but are broken down into general and limited purposes). C)The Private Figure Rule (3 general categories: Malice, Grossly Irresponsible Mannerisms, and negligence).

These rules have to be followed, or else journalists will not only lose their job, but could face jail time for defamation of character. A reputation is really the only thing that some public officials have, and when that is damaged, their career is over. That is the main reason why journalists get quotes in the first place. Facts and quotes are most important, and as much as someone might care what a journalist thinks, IF IT'S NOT TRUE, DON'T SAY IT!

Posted by The Gentle Giant at October 21, 2005 10:27 AM

How do you decide what's "true?" In "It Ain't...So," they discuss the discrepancy between the actual event and what's reported. How do you decide what should be reported and what should be left out?

Posted by: Katie Lambert at October 22, 2005 06:46 PM
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