This is the second in a series of articles by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press on legal issues that can affect journalists. It is written by Cindy Gierhart, Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation Legal Fellow at the RCFP.
Media scholars have noted for years that news outlets lag significantly behind blogs in their use of hyperlinks. But recent court cases suggest that news media may want to increase their use of hyperlinks as a way of defending against defamation lawsuits.
Let’s take a look at a couple of scenarios where hyperlinks have helped media defendants.
Scenario #1: Facts supporting an opinion
Suppose a blogger writes, “I think the mayor is a thief.” Even though it begins with “I think” and sounds like an opinion, it is followed by an assertion of fact.… Read more