This section covers the state law governing libel suits. The standards governing such suits are influenced by many things, including whether the subject of a story is a public figure or public official. This also covers the defenses to libel suits, including the "fair report" privilege, the opinion defense and anti-SLAPP laws.
Digital Journalist's Legal Guide
Everything online journalists need to protect their legal rights. This free resource culls from all Reporters Committee resources and includes exclusive content on digital media law issues.
A newspaper accurately reported that a woman was arrested for a marijuana offense. The arrest was expunged from her record as part of a first-offender diversion program deal. She sued the newspaper, claiming that the expungement statute means that newspapers must treat the arrest as if it never happened, and must therefore remove the story from their archives. The district court rejected the argument, and the plaintiff appealed to the Second Circuit. This amicus brief, written for the Reporters Committee by the UCLA School of Law First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, argues that an "erasure" statute cannot restrict the speach of non-government speakers, and that libel law does not require publications to update information that was accurate when reported.