October 30, 2003

"Libel"

In chapter 22 we covered Media Law. Within this chapter there was a whole section dedicated to the libel standard in the Journalism world. In the chapter Libel was defined as "damaging to a person's reputation caused by exposing a person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule.
What I first thought of when I read this was that libel is already a broad subject matter in the media world. I mean look at supermarket tabloids and such. Half of the strories in there are damaging to a person's reputation and the other half of them arent true. But then I began to think: "what about the truthful writers who have to maybe jeporadize someone reputation for the good society? Why should that be considered libel? Then I read on and I learned that journalist can make comments on a person as long as they substantial truth.
In libel suits one must have 2 defenses, truth and privilege. Truth is the substantial truth which means one must be able to "prove the essential elements of what you write." In priviledge this defense mechanism applies only when you are referring to a specific branch of the government. And when instances like that arise judges legislators and people of authority have absolute priviledge which means that "they can say anything-true or false- when acting in thier official capacities.
Ok where is all this coming from you might ask? I brought up this subject matter because I am planning on writing a story about B.E.T. and how it is not entertaining but is a direct ridicule to the African American race. I am not sure what type of affect my story could have but it might come off thrashing in many ways. So, I am wondering would you consider that to be a libel subject or not? Let me know what you think. And while ur at it, tell me about your views on B.E.T. and the way it percieves the African American Race. C'mon, Mouth Off!

Posted by Carla Rae Jackson at October 30, 2003 04:24 PM
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