Libel law - Essay Example

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Libel refers to a published statement that makes a claim, implied to be factual or expressly stated, that may give a business, individual, group, product, government, or country a negative image. The criterion of winning a libel case in court is by proving the jury with the…
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Libel Law Libel refers to a published ment that makes a claim, implied to be factual or expressly d, that may give a business, individual, group, product, government, or country a negative image. The criterion of winning a libel case in court is by proving the jury with the statements made that is defamatory and damaging (Mason 53). The plaintiff also has to prove that a defamatory statement was published. Finally, the plaintiff also has to verify that the defendant knew about the defamatory remarks, yet made them public (Barendt 44).
Some of the most common libel prompting charges is accusing someone of being a communist, describing a lady as a call girl, calling an attorney a criminal, and condemning a minister for immoral conduct (Amponsah 78). Also, other cases arise due to accusing a father of infringing the confidence of his son, calling a political foe a liar or thief and calling a television character a “chicken butt" and "local loser".
The defenses used in lawsuits are the truth, privilege and fair comment. If a journalist reports something, then it is thought to be true (Lawhorne 98). Also, journalists have the privilege of reporting accurate proceedings. Finally, journalists have the right to fair comment. Hence, what is published is perceived as the truth.
The New York Time Co. vs. Sullivan recognized that, for a public official to succeed, a declaration must be printed (Mason 53). In addition, the person who published the statement was aware it would cause havoc, but he or she still disregarded the truth.
Some of the court rulings that have had a significant impact on libel law are the case of John Zenger vs. William Cosby (1735), Dow Jones vs. MMAR Group Inc. and Alex Konanykhin vs. Izvestia, the Russian newspaper. All these cases went in favor of the plaintiffs. It also goes to conclude that if a plaintiff has grounds with regards to what was published he or she stands to win in a court of law.

Works Cited
Amponsah, Peter. Libel Law, Political Criticism, and Defamation of Public Figures: The United States, Europe, and Australia. New York: LFB Scholarly, 2004. Print.
Barendt, Eric. Libel and the Media: The Chilling Effect. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997. Print.
Lawhorne, C. The Supreme Court and Libel. Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press, 1981. Print.
Mason, Peter. Magazine Law: A Practical Guide. London: Routledge, 1998. Print.
Moore, Roy. Mass Communication Law and Ethics. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999. Print. Read More
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