Saturday, 15 October 2011

Media Law: Libel and Defamation

Publication & Defamation & Identification = Libel

If what you write:
-Lowers someone in the estimation of others
-Causes them to be shunned or avoided
-Ruins their profession
-Exposes them to hatred, ridicule or contempt

Defamation via pictures.
Careluss use of background shots, for example:
-Talking about an issue like fraud with an unrelated company in the background

Defamation Inferences
Things that could be read wrongly given the context.
An example of an innuendo in a headline being this:
Although this example being not necessarily harmful, journalists need to assess the whole context before hand.
Another thing to take into account is who you are writing about. Are they powerful enough to sue?

Libel Defences
-Justification - "It's true and I can prove it in court".
Having witnesses or defiant proof for something.
E.G. American media ran a story on Lindsay Lohan stealing a
$2,500 necklace, on the basis that the store in question stated
that they had CCTV footage of the star commiting the crime.

-Fair Comment - An honestly held opinion based upon facts or privileged material such
as press conferences. Or if the story is in the public interest.
-Balance - If the story explores both sides of a story or accusation fairly
-Bane and Antidote - Defamation removed by context (undoing what you've previously
said in the same article)
- Apologies and Clarifiation - For instance in this case

A journalist will have no defence if they have not:
-Checked their facts
-When they have not "referred up"
-When they have not attempted to put themselves in the shoes of those they are writing about
-Evidently got carried away by a juicy story
-Not bothered to wait for a lawyers opinion

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