Monday, September 17, 2007

Query on defamation

A newsman was convicted of libel in Tagbilaran City.
Rolly Cavan posted a query:
Dear Editor,
A publisher and reporter in Tagbilaran, Bohol was recently convicted in the regional trial court. The issue was about purchase of over-priced road equipment, Salcon Utility Joint Venture Agreement, and the expense of 160 million Ubay Dam, with no significant progress visible in the site.
Governor Aumentado, through his counsel, former governor Butalid won the case against the defendant, publisher and reporter, for libel.
Could, your interpretation of the, New York Times v. Sullivan, when creatively argued, and brilliantly explained, have prevented the conviction or perhaps help the newsmen on an appeal?

My response:
Actual malice in defamation is somewhat 'fluid'. It is not brittle.
One has to get to know the material facts of the case.
If you would notice, "reckless disregard" of the truth is kind of a state-of-mind thing. It's difficult to establish.
You have to ascertain and analyze the environmental facts.

1 comment:

Rolly Cavan<> said...

Mr. Editor,

Thanks for your time.