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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  Lawyer
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What is the legal grounds for a news channel to post a news

Resolved Question:

What is the legal grounds for a news channel to post a news story online where a teacher was involved in a situation that ended up in a forced resignation because of the public spotlight brought by the news? Can the news story be by law requested to be taken offline due to the fact no legal action was taken, but the online news story and comments posted by readers are negative and slander the job seeking teacher? Any Google search will populate the news story 6 months after the fact and portray a negative spotlight when there were no negative charges or prosecution.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

Under the First Amendment, the press has freedom to print news that they feel is fit for publication. The only limitation is that the press cannot print information that they know is untrue, or if they used a knowing and reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the information. N.Y. Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964).

If the information posted is not true, then the teacher may have a cause of action for defamation of character. If people are posting untrue, factual information in the comments that tend to harm the reputation of the teacher, then those people could be sued for defamation. The teacher could subpeona information from the website regarding who posted the comments, if there was a pending website. The teacher could also ask the newspaper to edit the article so that there are no additional comments. A person can also request a retraction of incorrect information (which they should post). But, unfortunately, because newspapers have such a high level of protection under the First Amendment, there is unfortunately no way to force a newspaper to delete or retract a story that contains accurate information, just because it is unfavorable to the subject.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

What if in the news story, video posted only, clearly shows the home address of the teacher?

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
A person's home address is not considered private information. It's not protected. Property records were public records long before the internet - anyone can go to the county's database to see who owns a property.

it is possible to request that the newspaper edit the video so that the address is not clearly visible. But the fact that the address can be seen in the video doesn't create a cause of action against the newspaper unless they said something like, "John Doe lives atXXXXX Go over there and tell him what you think!" (because that borders on stalking and harassment).
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 23606
Experience: Lawyer
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