Xah Lee network abuse

George Neuner gneuner2/ at comcast.net
Mon Jun 12 00:20:42 CEST 2006


On Sun, 11 Jun 2006 06:05:22 GMT, "Mike Schilling"
<mscottschilling at hotmail.com> wrote:

>
>"Philippa Cowderoy" <flippa at flippac.org> wrote in message 
>news:Pine.WNT.4.61.0606110548540.1652 at SLINKY...
>> On Sun, 11 Jun 2006, Mike Schilling wrote:
>>
>>> I'm not aware of any definition of libel that includes "making statements
>>> that are not provably true".
>>
>> I believe UK law uses one that's close to it.
>
>If I were to write, say, that Tony Blair's tax policy will lead to higher 
>deficits, I could be convicted of libel?  Even if that's true, it's not a 
>priori provable. 

DISCLAIMER - I AM NOT A LAWYER

In the US, the defense against a libel claim is to prove the statement
or accusation is true.

In the US, libel involves damage to someone's reputation by means of
deliberately false statements or accusations.  Expert opinion is
explicitly protected from libel claims unless it malicious.
Non-expert opinion is generally judged on the intent of the author.
Unprovable supposition is generally held to be non-libelous, however
unprovable accusation is not allowed.

Moreover, in the US, political figures are explicitly denied some (but
not all) libel protections because it is expected that their actions
will cause some measure of public dissent.

I don't know UK defamation law but I suspect it is quite similar to US
law.  In your polite example, your opinion of Tony Blair's policy
would be unprovable supposition at the time of the writing (as would
Blair's own) and would therefore not be libelous.  However, if your
opinion took an accusatory tone saying, for example, that he was
increasing the public deficit to line his pockets, then you had better
be right.

George
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