Mass Media Law Exam 2 Chapter 6 Study Guide Flashcards

criminal libel
Terms Definitions
why do many plaintiffs lose libel suits?
because they cannot meet the burden of proof
3/4 of media requests for summary judgment are granted by courts
statute of limitations
a law that requires that legal action must begin within a specific period of time after the legal wrong happened
single publication rule
says the entire edition of a newspaper or magazine or Web posting is a single publication and one republication of that same material months/years later does not mean republication, which would restart the statute of limitations
can a plaintiff who has not filed a libel suit w/i the statute of limitations in his/her home state file an action in another state that has a longer statute of limitations?
yes, if the libel has been spread in this other state
Keeton v. Hustler & Calder v. Jones
2 Supreme Court rulings that stand for the preposition that publishers can be sued in any jurisdiction where they distribute even a small part of their publication - even if the plaintiff does not live there
What is the usual amount of time allotted in a statute of limitations?
1-3 years
absolute privilege (privilege of the participant)
privilege where certain people in certain situations cannot be sued for libel. these people include congressman, city council members, governors, those who work in administrative/executive branches of govt & etc.
qualified privilege (privilege of reporter)
where individual can report what happens at an official government proceeding or transmit the substance of an official government report/statement and remain immune from libel even if the publication of the material defames someone
criteria for one to have qualified privilege
1.must report a privileged proceeding/document 2.publish or broadcast a fair/accurate summary
what type of privilege is the qualified privilege?
a conditional privilege
who bears the burden of proving that the privilege applies to the libelous material?
the defendant
occasions covered by qualified privilege:
legislative proceedings; judicial proceedings; executive actions
neutral reportage
new variety of qualified privilege that says when the press reports newsworthy allegations that are defamatory that come from a reliable source they are privileged even if the reporter believed allegations were false
4 elements to neutral reportage
1.defamatory allegations must be newsworthy charges that create/are associated with public controversy 2.charges must be made by responsible/prominent source 3.charges must be reported accurately.neutrally 4.charges must be about public official/figure
common-law malice
when a privilege is lost because material is not published to inform the public, rather it is published, because the publisher wanted to hurt the target of the defamation
rhetorical hyperbole
one potential defense for statement of opinion; protected because language is so expansive readers/viewers know it is an opinion, and not a fact
First Amendment (statement of opinion)
a potential defense for statement of opinion; protects statement of opinion for obvious reasons such as free speech rights on issues that are of public concern
The Ollman Test
4 part test that determines if a statement is one of opinion or fact: 1.can statement be proved true or false? 2.what is common/ordinary meaning of words? 3.what is journalistic context of remark? 4.what is social context of remark?
fair comment
potential common law defense that protects statements of opinion; has 3-part test: 1.is comment opinion statement 2.does defamatory comment focus on subject of legit public interest? 3.is there factual basis fro comment?
consent
an individual cannot sue for libel if he/she consented to the publication of the defamatory material
indirect/implied consent
consent that is given indirectly for example if one tells others about the charges against them they have given consent to publication
right of reply (the self-defense)
if an individual has been defamed he/she may answer the defamation with a libelous communication and not be subjected to a libel suit
actual damages
most common libel damages; damages for actual injury where plaintiffs must bring evidence to court to show the harm they suffered because of the defamatory material
special damages
specific items of loss caused by published defamatory statements; must be proved in more specific terms; least sought
presumed damages
damages plaintiffs can get without proof of injury or harm; for private person only negligence needs to be shown
punitive damages
designed to punish defendants for misconduct and to warn others; damages usually very large
retraction
both an apology and an attempt to set record straight
criminal libel
founded on theory that sometimes it is appropriate for state to act on behalf of the party injured and to bring criminal charges against the defendant
Garrison v. Louisiana
criminal libel case where court ruled that when a defamation of a public official is the basis for a criminal libel suit, the state has to prove actual malice (2 elements included)
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