Libel Law in the United States
Libel is a written form of defamation, which means a «false or unjustified injury to someone’s good reputation.» Slander refers to defamatory statements about someone that are spoken to others.Before the colonies gained their independence from Britain there was a precedent that truth is an absolute defense in libel cases.
It is up to the jury to decide whether a publication has printed libelous information about someone. to decide how much the libeled individual has suffered, what kind of monetary damages he is entitled to receive as compensation.
In 1964 the Supreme Court issued a ruling that public officials couldn`t sue successfully for libel unless reporters or editors were guilty of «actual malice» when publishing false statements about them. It means that public officials had to prove that a journalist had knowingly printed false information. This role was extended to cover «public figures,» who are still. This category includes celebrities well-known writers, athletes, and others who often attract attention in the media.
But private individuals to prove libel is not difficult. Because American libel laws are entitled to more legal protection against false statements.
In these cases, the person bringing the libel suit has the burden of proving that he or she has been libeled. But there are various kinds of published information which are immune from libel charges. For example, for the writing deals with opinions rather than facts.
But it sometimes happens that jurors do not fully understand or apply the proper legal standards that cover libel cases. And journalists changed great some for libel cases for the press expensive battles that leave no clear winners and it was proposed that courts should eliminate large financial awards that can be assessed against media groups found guilty of libel.
Another propose was made by Bruce Fein, who said that libel laws must ensure more accurate reporting by journalists.