One of the primary roles of the press is to report on issues of interest and concern to the public. However, individuals who are reported on also have the right to not have false statements published about them that might damage their reputation.
These two rights, when they clash, can not only lead to lawsuits, but can also damage the public’s view of and trust in the press. Enter libel law, an attempt at mediation.
In This Lesson
- Defining libel
- Four elements of libel law
- Defenses to libel accusations
- What if… (Common libel FAQs)
[Click here to view and use the Google Slide Presentation “Libel Law”]
Libel Law Quiz
Time for your students to put their knowledge on libel to the test. This quiz will test students on key libel concepts that all journalists should be familiar with prior to publishing anything that may be considered even remotely defamatory.
[Click here to view and print the Google Doc handout “Libel Law Quiz”]
[Click here to view and print the answer key for the “Libel Law Quiz”]
Landmark Libel Lawsuit Case Study
Individually or in groups, students will select a historical libel lawsuit heard by the Supreme Court out of a list of twelve. After reading up on the background of the case, students will answer a series of discussion questions about the court’s decision, the reasoning behind it, and the precedent(s) that case set for journalists today.
[Click here to view and print the Google Doc handout “Landmark Libel Lawsuit Case Study”]