The Register/ Times libel ruling is warning for online news archives

The protection offered in libel cases by a responsible journalism defence can ‘evaporate’ if the crucial facts of the case change and web archives of news stories must be changed to reflect this, a High Court ruling from earlier this month has said.

As the Register and OUT-LAW report, the ruling came in a case where the Times continued to publish a defamatory article online about a policeman from the London Met, who was being investigated.

The Times defended the online version of the 2006 article claiming qualified privilege and responsible journalism, but was told that this could no longer apply to the online version of the story after the outcome of the investigation, which found insufficient evidence to take criminal proceedings against the officer.

“The failure to remove the article from the website, or to attach to the articles published on the Times’ website a suitable qualification, cannot possibly be described as responsible journalism (…) It is not in the public interest that there should continue to be recorded on the internet the questions as to [the officer’s] honesty which were raised in 2006, and it is not fair to him,” the ruling stated.

Full story at this link…

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