Libel: Stay on the air and out of court.
This is a very basic guide to help avoid breeching libel laws and landing yourself and your station in very serious trouble.
- Don’t try to be clever. Commercial Radio stations have editors and solicitors and software to edit out libelous comments, You do not.
- Saying “allegedly” after a libelous statement doesn’t reduce the seriousness of the comment. In fact it may make matters worse.
- Think “If I was them, would I like that said about me?” _ and that’s usually a guide to whether you should say it or not.
- If you repeat a libel you’ve still published it and therefore are still accountable. Just because you have quoted the sensational comment from a newspaper, you can still be sued (that’s you, the editor , the station) for repeating it. If the person affected demands you to prove what you said is true you will not be able to as you will not have access to the evidence that the newspaper may have.
- Don’t make any comment on a court case or a potential court case. If you’re a presenter, don’t talk about the story from the moment someone’s arrested. If you’re a news presenter and you have to … you need proper legal training.
- Always cover yourself, Warn callers what they can/can’t say, Always take their name and number to warn off hoaxers.
- At the very At least, know when the alarm bells should start ringing; if in doubt seek advice from the station controller. Always err on the side of caution, If in doubt leave it out.