Musings on Libel in video journalism

28 03 2011

By Richard Dodwell


Libel is a contentious issue. Although we all try to avoid it – sometimes, particularly in controversial areas, it is totally unavoidable. Often it occurs by mistake. So in the rush to complete an edit on-time – or when you haven’t received adequate training – it can be a daunting prospect to either be faced with a libel suit, or a penalty of reduced marks for a journalism course.


This commentator sets out the parametres for which you can avoid libel on the internet.


Here is a more video specific post on one individual’s response to accusations of libel in a youtube video post.


Ultimately, it is vital that you receive adequate training in what counts as libel in your respective country, whether from whoever is teaching you or from books/internet resources.Furthermore, it is important that you are supported with your video posts throughout. If the training you receive is slapdash or you are not thoroughly supported in your work – then an accusation of libel is that last thing you need, as you will not have a support network to fall back on or help fight your case. (As encountered by youtube poster.) Some have even found a total lack of support or sensitivity from their University tutors.


More importantly, have a think about whether what you are posting is accurate. Do not produce a piece of video that is not 100%, even if you witness other’s mediocre projects receive greater success. Quality is what will suffice in the the developing world. The legal jargon will just become common sense.




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