Centre for Communication Governance at NLU delhi
Defamation and the Internet

Robin Foster, News plurality in a digital world, Reuters Institute for the study of journalism, 25-52, (2012)

This report analyses the potential impact of digital intermediaries (such as news aggregators, search engines, social media and digital stores) on plurality in the news media. It finds that although digital intermediaries play an important role in enhancing plurality in many ways, concerns remain over their gatekeeper position over the news as well as the exercise of editorial judgment over different sources. It further argues that digital intermediaries are likely to have a significant impact on the future of news economics and may even develop considerable political influence. The report, however, concludes that hasty attempts to regulate may prove to be ineffective.

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United Kingdom Law Commission, Defamation and the Internet: A Preliminary Investigation, Law Commission Scoping Study No. 2, December 2012

This report identified four areas of concern with respect to the law on defamation and the internet – the liability of internet service providers (ISPs) for other people’s material, the application of the limitation period to online archives, the exposure of internet publishers to liability in other jurisdictions and the risk of prosecution for contempt of court. It found that ISPs were often pressured to remove material without considering whether it was in public interest, and therefore recommended that the defences available to ISPs from defamation claims be extended. The report also focused on the jurisdictional difficulties in deciding where an internet defamation claim could life, but concluded that any solution would require an international treaty.

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AK Sanders, Defining Defamation: Community in the Age of the Internet, 15(3) Journal of Communication Law and Policy (2010) [Open Access]

The paper uses legal research methodology to examine and evaluate federal and state defamation jurisprudence. In doing so, it determines what factors the courts have used to define community in both traditional print and broadcast defamation cases as well as online defamation cases. It then evaluates those factors and concludes with suggestions for uniformly defining community in online defamation cases.

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