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.

Fair Report Privilege

In Michigan, the fair report privilege has been codified in Mich. Comp. Law § 600.2911(3) (1961), which provides an absolute privilege against liability for fair and true reports of public and official proceedings. A report is fair and true if the "gist" is substantially true.

Neutral Reportage Privilege

The neutral reportage privilege is not recognized in Michigan. The Michigan Court of Appeals declined to adopt the privilege stating "the press is adequately protected by the burden of proof" that the publication of a statement was made with actual malice, that is, knowing that it is false or acting with a reckless disregard for the statement's truth or falsity. Postill v. Booth Newspapers, Inc., 325 N.W.2d 511, 518 (Mich. Ct. App. 1982). Michigan's Supreme Court has made only passing reference to neutral reportage, referring to the doctrine as "undefined." Rouch v. Enquirer & News, 487 N.W.2d 205, 208 n.3 (Mich. 1992).

Wire Service Defense

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