Libel Different types, how to avoid it

Different types, how to avoid it
This is how you keep your job
What it is
• Libel occurs when a false
and defamatory statement
about an identifiable person
is published to a third party,
causing injury to the
subject's reputation.
• A libelous statement can
be the basis of a civil
lawsuit brought by the
person or group allegedly
defamed or, in rare cases,
a criminal prosecution.
Defamatory Communication
• A defamatory
communication is one
that exposes a person to
hatred, ridicule, or
contempt, lowers him in
the esteem of his fellows,
causes him to be
shunned, or injures him in
his business or calling.
• A headline, cutline, or
photo can also be
• Publication occurs when
information is negligently or
intentionally communicated by
newspapers, magazines, books,
radio or television broadcasts to
someone other than the person
• Service providers, however, are
not responsible for libelous
information posted by their
customers unless they exercise
editorial control over it.
• The media can be liable for
the republication of a libelous
statement made by another
person or entity.4
• It often has been said
that truth is an absolute
defense to libel.
• Private individuals suing for
libel also must prove the
statement was false if it
involved a matter of public
• Plaintiffs must
prove that the
alleged defamatory
publication refers
to them.
• Governmental entities
cannot bring libel
claims, nor can
members of large
groups (usually 25 or
• The heart of a libel suit
is the claim that the
plaintiff's reputation
was injured – and that
person has to prove it.
• All plaintiffs must demonstrate that the news
organization was at fault in some way.
• Public officials and public figures are
required to show the highest degree of
• Celebrities and others with power in a
community usually are considered public figures.
• The Court also said that while failure to
investigate facts does not necessarily
prove actual malice, a "purposeful
avoidance of the truth" may.
• Truth – obvious
• Fair report – libelous statements
made by others in certain
settings, if made in good faith,
are allowed.
• Neutral report - statements made
by one public figure about
another public figure are allowed
if the paper is not biased.
• Opinion is still protected speech
under the First Amendment.
• Consent. If a person gives
permission for the publication of
the information, that person
cannot later sue for libel.
• The statute of limitations for
bringing libel suits varies from
state to state. Generally the time
limit for filing a libel lawsuit starts
at the time of the first publication
of the alleged defamation.
• A retraction is not usually
considered an absolute defense
to a libel claim, it may reduce the
damages a defendant must pay if
found liable for defamation
Product libel
• Journalists who write
about consumer
products should be
aware that their reports
may be subject to
product disparagement
Emotional distress
• Individuals sometimes
sue the news media for
emotional distress
caused by the
publication of
embarrassing, truthful