Truth and Libel: The press gets more protection

The press gets more protection

Last week the Supreme Court also reinvigorated its 22-year line of decisions upholding the media's First Amendment protections against libel suits. In recent years the court has sometimes seemed more sympathetic to those bringing libel suits, but this time the Justices ruled 5 to 4 that in cases involving "matters of public concern," private individuals must prove that damaging press statements about them are false. The action struck down rules in Pennsylvania and eight other states that had put the burden of proof on media defendants to show the statements were true. The case arose when Maurice Hepps, principal owner of...

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