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Media Law Report on Reynolds Privelage Defence - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Task Date MEDIA LAW REPORT ON REYNOLDS PRIVILEGE DEFENCE The law on libel and slander protects the reputation of an individual. The law provides that any person who feels that his reputation has been injured can seek redress from the courts for defamation…
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Media Law Report on Reynolds Privelage Defence
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Download file to see previous pages Does Reynolds privilege apply in the case study and determination of whether it amounts to defamation with application of case law? A conclusion of the determination of the facts will be made after the facts have been made and recommendations to that effect made too. In the case of Reynolds .vs. The Times Newspaper,1 The Prime Minister Albert Reynolds was accused by the British press of deliberately misleading the Irish parliament. Reynolds sued for defamation and the defendants raised qualified privilege as a defence. At the trial, the jury gave a verdict that was in favour of Reynolds and he was awarded damages. The Court of Appeal rejected this decision and instead they ordered for a re-trial and held that the said publications had not been covered under the qualified privilege. The defendants went ahead and argued that there should be some form of privilege available to newspapers regarding political matters that they publish. The House of Lords rejected this argument stating that such an argument would fail to provide adequate protection for reputation and it would make it difficult for one to discern political discussions from other serious matters. Qualified privilege was held be in existence only when the common law test is satisfied. The common law test is seen whereby a person who makes a communication has a duty or interest to make the communication to the person with whom it is made, then the person to whom the communication is made has a corresponding duty or interest to receive the said communication. It was on this case that Lord Nicholls then came up with a list to determine whether qualified privilege exists. One should take into account how serious the allegation is, the nature of the information, the urgency of the matter, whether the comment was sought from the plaintiff, whether the article contained the plaintiff’s side of the story, the tone of the article and the circumstances of the publication should be considered. This case therefore came up with what is now called the Reynolds tests, which are the tests that someone should consider when raising qualified privilege as a defence. These tests signify how important it is for the source of information to be reliable before a defence on qualified privilege can be raised. The allegations that have been made to Billie are of a serious nature first because they touch on public interest. Anything that concerns the public should be treated with utmost concern and independent investigations should be done. Qualified privilege is raised when a matter touches on public interest. In Bonnick .vs. Morris2, qualified privilege was used as a defence. The House of Lords in this case stated that the law relating to qualified privilege was consistent with article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and fundamental freedoms3. It also stated that though the wordings may not be the same, the law relating to the Reynolds principle is consistent with their constitution under section 224. If the newspaper was seeking to publish the defamatory statement, it should have a factual statement. The anonymous source provided no information. There should also have been an inclusion of the defendants own statement. It was observed in this case that Reynolds principle were meant to provide a degree of responsible journalism and this is where there is a proper balance is held between the reputation of individuals and freedom of expression on matters that touch on the public. In this case, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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