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Legal restrictions on defamatory material

Defamation is defined as the communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual person, business, product, group, government, religion or nation as well as other various kinds of defamation that retaliate against groundless criticism.Under common law, to constitute defamation, a claim must generally be false and have been made to someone other than the person defamed. Spoken defamation is generally called slander, and defamation in other media, such as printed words or images, is called libel.Allowable defences are justification (the truth of the statement), fair comment (whether the statement was a view that a reasonable person could have held), absolute privilege (whether the statements were made in Parliament or in court, or whether they were fair reports of allegations in the public interest) and qualified privilege (where it is thought that the freedom of expression outweighs the protection of reputation, but not to the degree of granting absolute immunity).While the first two defences could lead a media organisation to look before leaping, the subsequent two present the push that can often land them in hot water.The pursuit of the truth, sometimes at any cost, can be a very expensive game. Actions for damages for defamation can be traced as far back as 13th-century Britain during the reign of Edward I. It is to be noted that, even though Bermuda's legal system and its law is independent, it has been based on the nearly 400-year-old common law legal system of England and Wales. The 1964 case New York Times Co versus Sullivan, however, dramatically altered the nature of libel law in the United States by elevating the fault element for public officials to actual malice — that is, public figures could win a libel suit only if they could demonstrate the publisher's “knowledge that the information was false” or that the information was published “with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not”. Such cases are now harder to bring in the US as a result but the law in Britain, as in Bermuda, remains that the burden of proof is largely on the defendant.Putting into the public domain privately-filed affidavits in advance of court proceedings fall into that category, we believe. A restriction is generally in place that restricts such action unless it is necessary to do so in order to further the litigation itself. If a media organisation is not involved in the proceedings in the first place, then there is no reason to further such litigation. The general law is that there is no qualified or absolute privilege that attaches to the publication of the contents of an affidavit that has been filed in civil proceedings unless and until such contents are brought up and read out in open court, with the result that the publication of defamatory material in an affidavit in advance of any court hearing is actionable.The number of defamation cases plummeted in Britain after the 2011 phone-hacking scandal that led to the closure of News of The World and the ultimate rebranding of News International, the publisher of The Times, to News UK. A research report stated that “public scrutiny following the eruption of the phone-hacking scandal is leading to a lower appetite for risk for some media outlets. Phone hacking has put journalistic standards under the microscope like never before. “Media companies are concerned that the phone-hacking scandal could lead to the imposition of a statutory media standards regulator, and they have made every effort to put their own houses in order to avoid this. “That will mean a more conciliatory, less controversial approach and fewer defamation cases.”

Young talent to be showcased at Summer Jazz JamAs congenial to reels, ragas, Delta blues, and indie rock as it is to solo Bach and late Beethoven, it has been played standing or sitting, alone or in groups, in bars, churches, concert halls, lumber camps, even concentration camps, by pros and amateurs, adults and children, men and women, at virtually any latitude on any continent,” wrote David Schoenbaum in his book The Violin: A Social History of the World's Most Versatile Instrument.We can add to the number of enthusiasts one Shadaunte Tucker, who woke up one morning four years ago to the sound of the violin and gained a new appreciation for music.Nineteen-year-old Shadaunte, whose musical talents have since which expanded to take in proficiency not only on the violin but on the piano, bass guitar and saxophone, too, will be one of several talented artists on display tomorrow night when the Berkeley Educational Society hosts the Summer Jazz Jam in the school's courtyard.Possessing a fierce passion to learn and to be good at your craft is never to be discouraged and, further, it is especially pleasing to experience the wonderment in a young person's eyes.That is the reward and ultimate satisfaction of being a teacher, nurturer, caregiver, confidence builder. That those whom you send out into the world are best placed to reap the benefits of it and that they have a real appetite for to excel.The efforts of Shadaunte et al will be for the benefit of those who have followed in his footsteps at Berkeley, even though he would admit that he has more “walking” to do if he is to realise his ambition of becoming a teacher at the senior school.Evidence of the good work that has been done by Berkeley's parent body was seen this week in the scholarship awards for three young people.One, 18-year-old Malik Alick, who plans to study jazz in Canada in the next school year, is from a family of musicians and perhaps could relate to music filling the room. From a personal genesis of banging together pots and pans, to playing in concerts by the age of 10, Malik is on the right course.Although not as musically inclined, so, too, Kezia Batterbee and Shalika Robinson, the other recipients, whose interests respectively are criminal law and cardiology.Malik will say thanks on behalf of them all, perhaps, when he takes to the stage with his saxophone — yes, he plays that and the piano, too.This is a show not to be missed.”

Sky's the limit for perfect FionaPerfection is meant to be an unattainable goal but something worthy of striving for in any case.To not have goals is to be aimless, to have no purpose.Fiona Dobson was born with a purpose; it is in her genes.But it is one thing to possess the genes as the daughter of academics, with an elder sibling to give added incentive, and quite another to raise the bar even farther — as Fiona did when becoming to the International Baccalaureate what Nadia Comaneci was to Olympic gymnastics 39 years ago.For the perfect 10, now see the perfect 45.Describing her emotion as one of complete shock when learning of her score, the 17-year-old Warwick Academy student can now continue the family tradition of the Dobson women going to Cambridge University. So that dad does not feel disconnected, his passion is Fiona's passion — geography.What was required for direct acceptance was a mark of 41. It's clear, then, that she reached for the sky and touched the stars.Good luck to her.