The Art of Tetman Callis

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Free speech is your right, if you dare

June 27th, 2015 · No Comments

“The limits on defamation actions for statements made about public figures exist because of concerns for free speech. False statements are bound to be made in the course of vigorous public debate. One of the prerogatives of American citizenship is the right to criticize public men and measures. Such criticism, inevitably, will not always be reasoned or moderate; public figures will be subject to vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks. While false assertions have little value, imposing liability for all false statements relating to public figures would have a chilling effect on speech about public figures, and freedoms of expression require breathing room. Without limitations on defamation actions, destructive self-censorship would occur limiting free speech. Given the importance of the free and open exchange of ideas, a public figure is prohibited from recovering damages for defamatory criticism unless there is clear and convincing evidence the defamatory statement was made with actual malice.” – Justice Crothers, Riemers v. Mahar (internal quotes and citations omitted)

Tags: Politics & Law · The American Constitution

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