Monday, October 25, 2004

Reporting facts from court proceedings privileged

An accurate report of facts from a court proceeding on a matter of public importance may not be the basis of a libel judgement, the Supreme Court of North Dakota ruled last week, according to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. A state statute provides a privilege for fairly reporting of such facts, the court ruled, dismissing a libel claim brought by Libertarian Party candidate for North Dakota governor, Roland C. Riemers, against the Grand Forks Herald. While Riemers was running for U.S. Senate in 2002, the Herald published a story that cited court findings in Riemers' 2001 divorce that he had beaten his wife and lied about his finances.

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