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Fair Comment

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Ex proprio motu (ex mero motu) to File

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.

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