Legal Challenges Affecting Journalists

Journalists are confronted on a day to day basis with the catch 22 situation of finding newsworthy stories to report and inform the public. However, at the same time, walking the tightrope of being on the right side of the law.

According to Josh Stearns: “For too many journalists, one lawsuit could bankrupt them or their newsroom.

Legal costs are simply too high for self-employed journalists to survive a lawsuit, and that poses an enormous risk for those endeavouring to take on the challenge of independent journalism.

Art Neill suggests that: there are “400 to 500 legal requests each year” in the USA requiring support for a lawsuit involving journalism.

There is a minefield of key legal areas which a journalist has to carefully tread through each time they venture into the area of transcribing citations or statements or reproducing material from others.

The dreaded defamation lawsuit could appear through a myriad of legal nuances.
A lawsuit will cost a lot

Journalists have the unenviable task of taking on an enormous personal legal liability when sharing work, which could be regarded as being controversial. Photos, videos and audio are used throughout journalism on the world wide web, but require the correct interpretation of the recording law to be applied. Access to public records can be arranged by a lawyer, which is expensive and time consuming.

A defamation lawsuit could take many years to resolve, and cost an enormous amount if the journalist loses the case.

In order for local news journalists to survive Josh Stearns believes that it is necessary to support and protect them through legal resources.

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