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October 23, 2005

Briefing On Media Law

Introduction
"The news stories that generate the most claims of injury to reputaion -- the basis of libel -- are run-of-the-mill."

"The lesson is twofold: one, there is no substitute for accuracy, and, two, news organizations may face legal challenges to what they publish -- even when they have accurately reported statements made by someone else, as in the case of a phony engagement announcement."

I found the second sentence in quotations intriguing. The author is correct when he states that there is no substitute for accuracy. However I did not realize that news organizations could face legal claiims to what they publish, even if they accurately reported these statements! I am still not quite understanding this. Is it when a reporter hears something that someone said and takes it and publishes it without the "okay" from the person who said it? I thought this MAY be it, but didn't know.

The Chapters...
Ha. Just incase anyone happened to not pick this up, libel means "injury to reputation." :) The difference between libel and slander is that libel is written, or printed in this case, and slander is spoken. AND the term defamation includes both terms.

"California is an example of a state that distinguishes substantively between libel and slander. In California, a slander, is also defined by statute, is a false and unprivileged publication, orally uttered which: (1) charges a person with commiting a crime or with having been indicted, convicted or punished for a crim; (2) alleges that a person is infected with a contagious or lathsome disease; (3) imputes a person is generally unqualified to perform his job or tends to lessen the profits of someone's profession, trade, or business; (4) imputes impotence or want of chasity, or (5) by natural consequence charges actual damage."

*Could someone explain to me how 4 and 5 fit into the picture?

The author states in Chapter Two that "A common misconception regarding the law of libel is that the publisher of a true and accurate quote of a statement containing libelous allegations is immune from suit if the quoted statement was actually made and was accurately transcribed by the reporter."
Does this mean, if something is true and someone actually said it, it's okay to publish it and the publisher can't get in trouble? Meaning, you aren't libel for the information? Because if this is true, then why did the author state the exact opposite in the introduction?

"There is no such thing as a false idea..."

Posted by ElyseBranam at October 23, 2005 03:57 PM

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