Privilege and Public Opinion Supervision Defences in China's Right to Reputation Litigation
Media & Arts Law Review, September 2014 Issue.
24 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2014 Last revised: 26 Nov 2014
Date Written: November 16, 2014
This article examines the Chinese court’s application of two defences (qualified privilege and public opinion supervision) to a claim for injury to reputation in the context of publication in the written media, and considers the implications of different applications for freedom of expression in China. For the media to effectively utilise the qualified privilege defence, China’s Supreme People’s Court needs to clarify that the publication of a follow-up or correction report by the media should be triggered by the alleged victim’s notification. The lack of legal rigour effectively deems the defense of public opinion supervision meaningless, as no special protection to the right has been consistently granted. The issue for Chinese law and the judiciary administering that law is to establish a clear, specific and coherent legal framework governing the protection of the right to reputation and the right to freedom of expression, which will operate to guide the courts and limit their discretion.
Keywords: Freedom of Expression, Media Freedom, Chinese Defamation Law
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