A plaintiff may overcome the fair report privilege by showing that the defendant acted with actual malice.

Neutral Reportage Privilege

The Texas Supreme Court has neither recognized or rejected the neutral reportage privilege. Many lower courts have recognized a similar privilege, without calling it "neutral reportage." Under the rule set forth in these cases, when the media reports on an accusation made by a third party, it can defend itself by showing that the accusation was in fact made and under investigation, rather than by showing that the underlying allegation was substantially true. See Dolcefino v. Turner, 987 S.W.2d 100, 109 (Tex. App. 1998). This privilege extends to investigations and accusations made by government and non-government actors and organizations. Proof of actual malice defeats this privilege.

Wire Service Defense

The CMLP has not identified any cases in Texas that recognize the wire service defense. If you are aware of any cases, please notify us.

Statute of Limitations for Defamation

Texas has a one (1) year statute of limitations for defamation. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code sec. 16.002.

Texas has adopted the single publication rule. For a definition of the "single publication rule," see the Statute of Limitations for Defamation section.

Texas state courts have not yet considered whether the single publication rule applies to postings on the Internet, but a federal appeals court applying Texas law recently adopted it in the Internet context. See Nationwide Bi-Weekly Admin., Inc. v. Belo Corp., 512 F.3d 137 (5th Cir. 2007). See also Hamad v. Center for the Study of Popular Culture, No. A-06-CA-285-SS (W.D. Tex. June 26, 2006) (adopting single pubication rule for Internet publications).

Virginia Defamation Law

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