The Emerging Defence of Reportage
This article tracks recent developments in the law of defamation, exploring United Kingdom cases where journalists have advanced a defence of reportage. This reportage defence is intended to protect the journalist from a defamation action where there has only been neutral reporting of defamatory allegations which are neither adopted nor embellished. The progress of this nascent defence in several United Kingdom cases is traced, including the most extensive development made in the case of Roberts v Gable. This article then proceeds to elucidate the parameters of the new defence, focussing particularly on the tone of the reporting, how the report has to be of the fact that the statement was made, and the particular context in which the defence has so far succeeded. The justifying rationales for the defence are then explored and critiqued. The potential application of such a defence to a New Zealand context is then considered, revealing how such a development is not plausible in the near future.
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