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fair comment

n. a statement of opinion (no matter how ludicrous) based on facts which are correctly stated and which does not allege dishonorable motives on the part of the target of the comment. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that to protect free speech, statements made about a public person (politician, officeholder, movie star, author, etc.), even though untrue and harmful, are fair comment unless the victim can prove the opinions were stated maliciously-with hate, dislike, intent and/or desire to harm. Thus, a public figure may not sue for defamation based on published opinions or alleged information which would be the basis of a lawsuit if said or published about a private person not worthy of opinion or comment. This is a crucial defense against libel suits put up by members of the media.

See also: defamation  libel  public figure  slander 

From the Law.com Newswire



The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications