fair comment


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Fair Comment

A form of qualified privilege applied to news media publications relating to discussion of matters that are of legitimate concern to the community as a whole because they materially affect the interests of all the community. A term used in the defense of libel actions, applying to statements made by a writer (e.g., in the news media) in an honest belief in their truth, relating to official acts, even though the statements are not true in fact. Fair comment must be based on facts truly stated, must not contain imputations of corrupt or dishonorable motives except as warranted by the facts, and must be an honest expression of the writer's real opinion.

Fair comment is a privilege under the First Amendment to the Constitution and also applies to invasions of the right of privacy.

In order for a statement to fall into the category of a fair comment, it must not extend beyond matters of concern to the public. It must be a mere expression of the opinion of the commentator.

Cross-references

Freedom of the Press.

fair comment

n. a statement of opinion (no matter how ludicrous) based on facts which are correctly stated, and which does not allege dishonorable motives on the part of the target of the comment. The U. S. Supreme Court has ruled that to protect free speech, statements made about a public person (politician, officeholder, movie star, author, etc.), even though untrue and harmful, are fair comment unless the victim can prove the opinions were stated maliciously---with hate, dislike, intent and/or desire to harm. Thus, a public figure may not sue for defamation based on published opinions or alleged information which would be the basis of a lawsuit if said or published about a private person not worthy of opinion or comment. Fair comment is a crucial defense against libel suits which is put up by members of the media. (See: defamation, libel, public figure, slander)

fair comment

see DEFAMATION, ROLLED-UP PLEA.
References in periodicals archive ?
31) While their precise wording--and therefore the precise degree of protection that they confer on publishers--varies, these enactments typically state that a publisher who reproduces the defamatory opinion of another party will not be denied the defence of fair comment solely because the publisher did not hold the other party's opinion, as long as someone could honestly hold that other party's opinion.
The paper subsequently appealed the decision on the grounds of fair comment and the right to freedom of expression.
These defences are truth, privilege (both absolute and qualified), fair comment, consent, and most recently the public interest responsible journalism defence.
Instead you seem more satisfied eating crumbs from your master's plate, and for that reason you are not in a position to give fair comment
Fair comment, no great offence and quite possibly true.
It is fair comment to bemoan the fact that an innocent man died - but what a condemnation he makes of our police force
But to impugn the integrity of another newspaper that might disagree with you and suggest that our endorsement was for sale is offensive, repugnant and totally beyond the bounds of fair comment.
But Hutchins decided in August that ballot arguments are known to be the opinion of the writer and therefore given to hyperbole, and that they are within the definition of fair comment.
When asked if he felt Lennon was playing better than ever, Parker said: "I think that's a fair comment.
barking', he crosses the line between fair comment and insult.
Fair comment, but imagine the hassle if as most of his followers request we break away from the United Kingdom and give birth to an independent Wales, would these imaginary borders then be manned with passport control and all the trappings that go with them?