No 11 Posted by fw, April 22, 2010
Kudos to distinguished Canadian climate scientist, Dr. Andrew Weaver, for launching a libel suit against the National Post newspaper, its publisher and three writers. The suit alleges “a series of unjustified libels based on grossly irresponsible falsehoods that have gone viral on the Internet.”
According to an April 21 post in DeSmog Blog, “The 48-page Statement of Claim sets out a National Post pattern of reporting critical and erroneous material about Weaver and, in recent times, refusing to retract or correct when inaccuracies are brought to the paper’s attention.”
Incidentally, the Statement of Claim, should be required reading for any publisher, whether mainstream professional or amateur blogger. If your words are in the public domain, in writing, audio or video format, and are potentially libellous, they are fair game for prospective claimants.
One aspect of the suit that might make every online publisher sit up and take notice, is that they could be held libel for publishing potentially slanderous comments in letters to the editor or in readers’ comments. In other words, it’s the publisher of the letter or comment who is at risk, not the author.