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ENG 285 (10)

Legal Issues

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ENG 285
Chad Gibbs

Ethical Question: There’s been a drug problem in a neighbourhood, and you decide to do a section called “drug watch”. You put the name and picture of anyone arrested for a drug related crime in that section. Are you risking defamation and libel suits? Do you only put in people with a record? Do you hope saying allegedly will protect you? Still needs to be true. Are they victims and thus should be protected? Do you put the mug shot in the paper? Yes, it happens all the time and they are public record. IRL 4:1 positive response to section You need to put things in context Legal Issues Libel–statements that are damaging to reputation, expose a person to hatred. contempt or ridicule. If the following four categories are present, you’re at risk to be sued (counts if it’s just repeated info too):  defamation–have to prove fault, malice, and/or negligence (slander is same thing) o additional QC requirements: public interest, malice (knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for truth), doesn’t have to be published in QC o Politics, sports, and business must prove more than Joe Schmo  identification–must know who is being libelled o misidentification can lead to as well  publication–I write it down and somebody else reads it, that’s a problem o if it wasn’t intended for publication it isn’t considered public or libellous, unless it’s a letter, then you intended someone else to see it. o nature of the publication matters too  damages–how did it damage or injure you (ppl stopped coming to my business or I lost my job are good reasons)—>of you run a retraction or correction early you can say you tried to limit damages  falsity  pg 226-234 of CP style guide Defenses for libel  truth, can be hard to prove  consent  good faith (I tried to get your side, sorry)  libel and the deceased–if person dies during suit, case is thrown out o if can prove damage to estate can sue  privilege–what judges, lawyers, MPs, government officials say is protected, and if you don’t change it and put it in context journalists have that protection too o public interest-public good worth more than reputation of individual o hearing from both sides-if other side keeps refusing to comment, you can say you tried to give multiple sides How to avoid libel:  check your
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