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Journalists are listened to, and heard more widely than mere bloggers. Journalists' training and experience may put them in prominent positions where they have more of an audience and consequently more power than a mere blogger. Responsibility is/(should be) proportional to power: the greater your power to harm, the greater responsibility you should exercise. On that basis, I think there is an argument to distinguish between a journalist and a blogger.

But I appreciate Saph's point too.
 

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I am not a lawyer so this is all just my understanding.

In the US a journalist *mustn't* publish libel. If they do, then the person libeled *can* sue them.

Libel is something that denigrates someone or destroys their reputation or makes them face public shame etc. but if what is said is actually the truth then it isn't libel.

Also it isn't libel if it is comment about someones performance or an opinion rather than allegation of fact...

eg it is *not* libel to say President Bartlett is doing a terrible job and is a poor president.

It *is* libel to say he was been embezzling the White House housekeeping account (unless he was).

If a journalist is sued for libel, then basically the journalist would have to prove what they said is true. They may decide to not reveal their sources but if they choose not to... that won't help them prove their innocence.

Regarding the allegations against Cain. If the women have published their allegations, then Cain can sue them for libel if he wishes. They would have to prove either that their allegations were true or it wasn't damaging to him.

Note - the burden of proof is with the defendants, this is opposite of most court actions where the defendant doesn't have to prove themselves innocent.

In Oz I think you can commit libel even if what you say is true. If the things you publish are damaging to the persons reputation or shame them and it is 'not really in the public interest' then that is libel. (eg if you denigrate someone in print who is not that important and whose activities really don't concern the public then that can be libel even if what is said is true).
 

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The last bit, the Aussie bit; pretty much says that the onus of responsibility is one the "sayer" to predict what the public reaction to a piece of news is going to be, for public opinion would be a major determinant of what "really is public interest".

A reporter should be responsible in demonstrating objectivity and truthfulness towards his or her topic, but they should not be responsible for predicting public opinion.

I guess the law is also saying it is OK for the Public to be interested in cruddy news like whom Pollies are "kissing" in their spare time.
 

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Somebody one said that:

'the public interest', is not necessarily what the public are interested IN.
 

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What's this about me beating my sheep?

The job of a journalist (among other things) is to report facts in the public interest. An alleged sexual harassment, for example, is a fact, but to report it as anything but alleged is crossing the line.

I haven't read the Oregon case, but generally, I would find a ruling specifically declaring that bloggers aren't journalists disturbing. Everyone from NY Times journalists to quilting enthusiasts blog now. Where do you draw the line? I read blogs that range from diaries to summary and comment on current events. To me, it still boils down to fact vs. allegations. Further, and maybe more importantly for the blogger, it boils down to whether you're able to defend what you say. Able = $$$ enough to go to court over freedom of press/right to protect sources. If you can't back it up, don't say it. Or, if you can back it up, and are determined to protect your source, you better be willing to go down fighting for first principles.
 

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Damn straight bloggers are not journalists. Any twat can start up a blog.

Mind you, any twat can be a journalist these days. Journalism used to have standards, but not these days.
 

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There's a section in most papers called the OpEd page. They don't publish that for nothing, but it is opinion. Papers will print a retraction if they get things wrong.

The Blogs on the internet are mainly opinion oriented in my eyes. I think my bonnie is one of the best bikes around, but that's my opinion. To prove that I would need facts such as reliability etc. but even that would be subjective.

There's a ton of people out there spewing vile things and getting into tiffs with people they don't even know. It's when they do know each other that it gets very dicey.
 

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I am very upset...

There is a difference when it comes to libel and slander. A journalist can be sued or a blogger can be sued equally.

What the Governments end goal was to shred the 1st Amendment for individuals. Little steps, eating away at the Constitution. Anything to put fear into people to stop them from posting their opinions online, in print, or on online video.

It is the same thing with the online piracy act. Copy a picture, listen to the wrong piece of music, or even watch the wrong video online and here comes the SWAT team or suits to your door.

The sooner the Government spends itself into insolvency the sooner it will be unable to affect people's lives in a negative way.
 

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I'm suprised no one has mentioned the fantasy finance fine.

Is this blogger able to pay millions of dollars in damages or does this judgement show that anyone who says something nasty about a rich banker type must expect to be made bankrupt?

Should the settlement not reflect the affect on the miscreant and their ability to pay (clearly the decision in their favour being the main reward for the plaintiff), as a $2.5 million fine for a(relatively) poor person can haver the same consequences as a $250 million fine for someone who's stinking rich.
 
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Discussion Starter #32
I believe that I may have dragged innocent folk into this this thread. Friends have gently reminded me that not all bloggers report news or write opinions about the state of their politicians love life.

There are hundreds of thousands of folks who simply relay what they see or experience through out the day. Reporting on traffic, flights, weather, seasons, what they think or feel and general observations does not put them in the same vain as those who make up crap, vent their spleens and mock other journalists with opinions posted as actual news. To those who feel slighted I am sorry.

Others have expressed concerns that the fines/judgements exceed the crime for those convicted. I would say that if some one smears your reputation and costs you the opportunity to succeed in what ever venture you under take even if you were innocent of false charges then I would suggest it is similar to a robber who smashes a piano players hand.
That last statement should get some blood a boiling.
 

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I think it's very difficult to ever impose appropriate punishments across a range of disparate crimes committed by people in different situations.

Is it about recompensing the victim by the appropriate amount or punishing the person comitting the crime?
 
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Discussion Starter #34
I really don't believe that many victims get much from a judgement award. Usually the culprit has nothing to give. Kinda like trying to get blood from a turnip.

Same as the punishment award. Who can pay a hundred thousand dollar fine when they didn't have a pot to p!$$ in or a window to throw it out of?
The person who committed the heinous crime and the victim will always have the stigma and the scar of the crime till death. No one really wins in those cases.
 

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Neither a journalist nor a blogger can accuse someone of crimes with impunity. Even if a journalist claims that a source is confidential, they still can't simply say that someone told them such and such is a criminal without evidence. Whether or not a blogger is a journalist for purposes of shield laws, they would likely still be convicted of libel in this case.
 
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