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Blogger fined $2.5 Million for not Being a Journalist

An Oregon woman has been fined $2.5 million for defamatory comments made on her blog.
By Christopher Kevin Au
December 19, 2011
By Christopher Kevin Au
December 19, 2011

You might want to tone down some of the long and critical rants contained on your blog, as a case in Oregon has just see a woman fined $2.5 million for defamatory comments.

Crystal Cox runs several blogs, and posted comments in one such blog which criticised the Obsidian Finance Group. The Group responded by commencing litigation against Cox for defamation. Cox represented herself in these proceedings.

Cox said she had information from an inside source, whom she refused to name. As a result, it was impossible for her to prove that her comments were true. As she was a blogger and not affliated with any official media outlet, she was not provided the same protection as journalists in Oregon. Therefore, Judge Marco A. Hernandez slapped Cox with a $2.5 million fine. Heavy.

Aside from the obvious legal questions in such a case, is this really an appropriate punishment for not being part of a media establishment? Blogs are now becoming pivotal points for topical discussion. News programs are using images and videos captured by ordinary citizens on iPhones as exclusive content to be broadcast on television. Television shows are increasingly conversing with audiences through social media websites. It seems nowadays that these lines between contemporary and traditional media are undergoing a rapid integration.

Furthermore, you get the feeling that Cox probably should have hired a lawyer.

[via Mashable]

Published on December 19, 2011 by Christopher Kevin Au


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