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March 30, 2005

Courts: Media May Be Sued For Accurately Publishing the False and Libelous Claims of Politicians

This is a kind of tough call: If Politician X makes libelous statements about Politician Y, can the media be sued for republishing the libelous statements when it just reports Y's words?

Libel is not restricted, of course, to the originator of the libel. Generally, anyone who repeats/republishes the libel can also be sued. The media sought an exemption; they seem to have been denied.

Right Wing News disagrees strongly, and thinks the public's right-to-know outweighs a single person's interest in having his reputation protected.

I don't know, myself. This seems to be a tough call. Yes, it is important for the public to know about even the false claims made by politicians -- and sometimes, of course, sunlight exposes those lies for what they are -- but on the other hand, just because someone libels you, should the press amplify that libel ten-thousand-fold by repeitition and wide dissemination and take no responsibility for the additional injury to person's character?


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posted by Ace at 01:15 PM

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