Chapter 3: Avoiding Legal Hassles
Libel and Defamation: According to the AP Stylebook, “Libel is injury to reputation. Words, pictures or cartoons that expose a person to public hatred, shame, disgrace or ridicule, or induce an ill opinion of a person are libelous.”
Juries award defamation damages to the extent that the following four points can be proved by the injured party:
- The statement was published to others by print or broadcast
- The plaintiff was identified or identifiable.
- There was actual injury in the form of monetary losses, impairment of reputation, humiliation, or mental anguish and suffering.
- The publisher of the statement was malicious or negligent.
Invasion of Privacy: An organization’s treatment of its employees in regards to privacy is one area of possible liability and potential lawsuits. These include:
- Employee newsletters
- Photo Releases
- Product Publicity and Advertising
- Media inquiries about employees
- Employee blogs and virtual communities.
The Federal Trade Commission: ensures that advertisements are not deceptive or misleading. They also have jurisdiction over product news releases and other forms of product publicity, such as videos and brochures.
The Securities and Exchange Commission: closely monitors the financial affairs of publicly traded companies and protects the interests of the stock holders.
Other Federal Regulatory Agencies include: The Federal Communications Commission, The Food and Drug Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
All information in this post can be found in Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques: 6th Edition