SPJ Legal Defense Fund Roundup – December 2016
Lynn Walsh, SPJ National President, 614-579-7937, Lynn.K.Walsh@gmail.com
Rachel Semple, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-920-4785, firstname.lastname@example.org
INDIANAPOLIS – As a free press and free speech advocate, SPJ’s Legal Defense Fund Committee initiates and joins court briefs to support First Amendment and open records cases.
The following are amicus briefs and other action the LDF Committee took in December.
Eramo v. Rolling Stone
SPJ joins the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and other organizations in regard to the Rolling Stone defamation case. The brief argues that the editor’s note appended to the story “A Rape on Campus” is not a “republication” of the original information that was later shown inaccurate. In defamation cases, determining that the article was republished would increase the liability of the company due to an “actual malice” standard. It was determined the company had not acted with “actual malice” in the original publication of the article.
Editor’s notes have long served the public good by clarifying when new information comes to light. If the tradition of editor’s notes were to increase liability for publishers, it could discourage publishers from clarifying or correcting information in the future.
Read the full brief here.
SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. The First Amendment also guarantees the press and the public a right of access to criminal trials, including pretrial proceedings, and documents submitted in connection with them.
The LDF Committee also oversees the Legal Defense Fund, a unique account that can be used to provide journalists with legal or direct financial assistance.
SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund, or give to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.