Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Federal judge: Bloggers are not journalists

A federal judge has ruled that bloggers are not afforded the same protections from defamation and libel lawsuits as professional journalists.

The ruling could have a chilling effect on so-called "citizen journalists" who have launched hundreds of millions of blogs.

The case involved Crystal L. Cox, a Montana blogger who made critical remarks about a local attorney. Hint to bloggers: Accusing a lawyer in public of criminal conduct may not be the smartest thing to do.

From The Associated Press:
U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez found last week that as a blogger, Cox was not a journalist and cannot claim the protections afforded to mainstream reporters and news outlets.

Although media experts said Wednesday that the ruling would have little effect on the definition of journalism, it casts a shadow on those who work in nontraditional media since it highlights the lack of case law that could protect them and the fact that current state shield laws for journalists are not covering recent developments in online media.

"My advice to bloggers operating in the state of Oregon is lobby to get your shield law improved so bloggers are covered," said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. "But do not expect the shield law to provide you a defense in a libel case where you want to rely on an anonymous source for that information."
Read the full story at the link below:

Federal judge: Montana blogger is not journalist

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