[Editor’s Note: From time to time WBT receives articles and comment that risk prosecution. Recently threats were made by DOCS about an attempted interview with a DOCS officer. Here are some tips for bloggers and contributors that can be used as a guide to publication on the net or anywhere.]
Simply put the absolute defense of defamation is “truth” and the most desirable element for the effectiveness of political websites is that it is trusted to present as best is possible, the truth.
Strange as it may sound the best way for political sites to be effective is to be accurate because then it will be both trusted and immune from a successful defamation suit.
A site to help get ya head around the broader aspects of this issue while leaving the minutiae of the law to lawyers is:
The law of defamation is supposed to protect people’s reputations from unfair attack. In practice its main effect is to hinder free speech and protect powerful people from scrutiny. This leaflet provides information about legal rights and options for action for people who may be threatened by a legal action or who are worried about something they want to say or publish.
If you are pressed for time these sections are must reads:
As a rule of thumb the best rule seems to be as Brian says;
“state the facts, not the conclusion”