A newspaper report that a political campaign brochure accused the county's Italian-American judges of having mafia connections. Celebrezze v. Netzley, 1988 Ohio App. LEXIS 3153 (Ohio Ct. App. 1988).
A land developer calling another developer "unscrupulous" during a town meeting. McCracken v. Gainesville Tribune, Inc., 146 Ga. App. 274, 275 (Ga. Ct. App. 1978).
Differing State Approaches to the Neutral Reportage Privilege

Although the neutral reportage privilege has been adopted in some jurisdictions, few states have clear state-wide rulings on what the privilege entails. Even in those states that recognize the privilege, it can vary in important ways:

Private figure plaintiffs: Edwards v. National Audubon involved an instance where the person defamed (the plaintiff) was a nationally known scientist, a prominent public figure. In cases where the plaintiff is a private person, courts have split over whether to recognize the neutral reportage privilege. See, e.g., Khawar v. Globe International, 19 Cal. 4th 254, 271 (Cal. 1998) (plaintiff was a youth accused of involvement in the Robert Kennedy assassination). The trend, however, seems to be for courts to recognize the privilege even when private figure plaintiffs are involved.

Trustworthy and prominent sources: Few sources are more trustworthy and prominent than the National Audubon society talking about an issue related to bird populations. But often this is not the case. Major stories can come from sources who are neither "trustworthy" nor "prominent." The courts go both ways on the issue of whether the privilege applies to cases like these. Many judges have emphasized the trustworthiness of the source as a key determining factor in whether the privilege applies; others take a broader view on the circumstances of the story.

Add comment

Security code