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Court Victory Gives Blogger Same Speech Protections As Traditional Press 137

Posted by Soulskill
from the take-that-traditional-journalism dept.
cold fjord writes "Reuters reports, 'A blogger is entitled to the same free speech protections as a traditional journalist and cannot be liable for defamation unless she acted negligently, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday. Crystal Cox lost a defamation trial in 2011 over a blog post she wrote accusing a bankruptcy trustee and Obsidian Finance Group of tax fraud. A lower court judge had found that Obsidian did not have to prove that Cox acted negligently because Cox failed to submit evidence of her status as a journalist. But in the ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said Cox deserved a new trial, regardless of the fact that she is not a traditional reporter. "As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable."... Eugene Volokh, [a] Law professor who represented Cox, said Obsidian would now have to show that Cox had actual knowledge that her post was false when she published it. ... "In this day and age, with so much important stuff produced by people who are not professionals, it's harder than ever to decide who is a member of the institutional press."' Further details are available at Courthouse News Service."
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Court Victory Gives Blogger Same Speech Protections As Traditional Press

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 18, 2014 @10:01PM (#46002335)

    But you see, a blogger doesn't have a 'job' to lose(meaning, blogging is not their occupation), so what do they care if they write false accusations?

    A journalist would be more professional - if they make an accusation, they'd have their research to back it up. Their accusation could be verified by other journalists, or from multiple sources.

    The journalist would(by and large) have to follow a code of conduct/ethics, whereas a personal blogger is unregulated. The situations are not the same, so how can the law apply equally for both cases?

  • by compro01 (777531) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @11:13PM (#46002647)

    the same code of conduct/ethics as a traditional journalist.

    You mean none?

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