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Legal Issues of the Mass Media_Lambe_Date_031510

Legal Issues of the Mass Media_Lambe_Date_031510 - Privacy...

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Privacy and Libel: General Definitions Cause of Action o A legally acceptable reason for suing. o There is an agreement that there is some remedy for the harm done to you. Tort o A particular kind of action where there has been injury or harm committed against a person or their privacy (civil law). Plaintiff o The person claiming that they have been harmed, bring the lawsuit to court. o Abbreviated as ∏ Defendant o The person responding to the lawsuit, thought to have caused the harm to the plaintiff. o Abbreviated as ∆ Privacy o Any interference with a legally recognized interest in protecting personal information or behavior. Defamation o A false attack on a person’s character or reputation. o Libel – when defamatory communication is written. o Slander – When Defamatory communication is spoken. Burden of Proof o What must be proven to win the case. There are certain standards that need to be met for different cases. o Very important to know who has the burden of proof, and the level of proof that has to be met. (You don’t want to have this responsibility). Actual (compensatory) Damages o Money a plaintiff can receive based upon evidence/documentation of the damages done to you. o Evidence of the money lost because of the harm caused to you. Court Bills, Medical Bills, Lost Wages Punitive Damages o The money asked of the defendant as a punishment in order to make an example of the case, and so others won’t reproduce the same behavior. o A punishment. Summary Judgment or Dismissal o Determination of a lawsuit before it even goes to court. o Defendant must prove that the plaintiff won’t be able to meet the burden of proof o The courts must then look at the plaintiff’s evidence and assume that they are all true facts. Defenses: Consent o Participants agree to be interviewed, recorded etc. Safest in written form, and a very strong defense.
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Plain View o Any thing can be seen from a public place is fair game (including photos and video) Newsworthiness o If the traditional standards of journalistic judgment deem the information worth being brought to the public. It’s a generally inconsistent defense. Truth as a Defense o If you can prove what you published is true then you win! Absolute Defense! o It’s very difficult to prove however, and you are then given the burden of proof. Statute of Limitations o If you are outside the fixed amount of time a state sets for libel suits after publication then you can’t bring the suit. Fair Comment and Criticism o Opinion Defense o Protects news media, so that they can criticize or critique someone’s work (like a movie critique). Qualified Privilege o Protection for journalists when they are reporting about public government proceedings and documents.
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