Public Figure

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Public Figure

A description applied in Libel and Slander actions, as well as in those alleging invasion of privacy, to anyone who has gained prominence in the community as a result of his or her name or exploits, whether willingly or unwillingly.

If a plaintiff in a libel or slander action qualifies as a public figure, he or she must show that the libelous or slanderous conduct of the defendant was motivated out of actual malice as required in the case of new york times co. v. sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 84 S.Ct. 710, 11 L.Ed.2d 686 (1964).

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

public figure

n. in the law of defamation (libel and slander), a personage of great public interest or familiarity like a government official, politician, celebrity, business leader, movie star, or sports hero. Incorrect harmful statements published about a public figure cannot be the basis of a lawsuit for defamation unless there is proof that the writer or publisher intentionally defamed the person with malice (hate). (See: defamation, libel, slander)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
"It's a very strange thing, but somehow it's like there was some clause somewhere that said, 'Well, you're a public person, so we get to go into your house and search through your drawers.'
"He would say 'there is a public person and a private person' and I would reply 'why should I be any different inside and outside?'
Numerous prominent scientific and public persons from BiH participated in the debate.
It is by all means true that journalists are public persons and that they can be of interest to the media, but it is impermissible for journalists and media to be top news while topics of vital importance to be relegated to the background, ZNM said via Radio Free Europe.

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