Pennsylvania does not recognize the the neutral reportage privilege. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has neither recognized or rejected the wire service defense, but lower courts have consistently refused to recognize this defense.

There also is an important provision under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act that may protect you if a third party – not you or your employee or someone acting under your direction – posts something on your blog or website that is defamatory. We cover this protection in more detail in the section on Publishing the Statements and Content of Others.

Most of the privileges and defenses to defamation can be defeated if the plaintiff proves that the defendant acted with actual malice. This does not apply to immunity under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

The Fair Report Privilege

Pennsylvania recognizes the fair report privilege. The privilege applies to reports and summaries of information contained in government reports or discussed in government proceedings. This includes court proceedings, court records, and open meetings. It also applies to government press releases, including police press releases.

The privilege applies to "fair and accurate" accounts of the underlying documents or proceedings. A report is fair and accurate if it is "substantially accurate." A plaintiff may overcome the fair report privilege by showing that the defendant acted with actual malice.

Neutral Reportage Privilege

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has expressly rejected the neutral reportage privilege. See Norton v. Glenn, 860 A.2d 48 (Pa. 2004).

Wire Service Defense

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has neither recognized or rejected the wire service defense, but lower courts have consistently refused to recognize this defense.

Statute of Limitations for Defamation

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