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Slander when reading a tweet

Discussion in 'Defamation, Libel & Slander' started by RadioStation300”, Aug 21, 2019.

  1. RadioStation300”

    RadioStation300” Law Topic Starter New Member

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    United Kingdom
    I’m writing from a small no profit internet radio station
    On of our station presenter was doing a show reading some tweets addressed to the station itself about the topic discussed.
    While reading one of the tweets the presenter noticed that the tweet contained a sort of accusation against another user that was tweeting in the discussion.
    While reading it, the presenter jumped the name accused, therefore did not mention it.

    However we have received threat of legal action from this person. We have explained to him that we didn’t mention his name (we have the recording and we have double checked it). I was wondering if anyone could indicate me or what is the legislation in these cases, as we are a very small station and we are genuinely scared despite we don’t think we have done nothing wrong reading tweets that were public (with the hashtag indicated from the station) and jumping names? We only ever mentioned the name of the tweet author, never other names when involved.
    I don’t think the person mentioned in the tweet
    is identifiable. The tweet is something like “there’s people like xxxx that create false profile just to offend”.
    The presenter did read the tweet . But paused and didn’t mention “XXXX” (the name).
    The person mentioned had previously sent a tweet to the conversation and his tweet was read as it didn’t contain names. However between his tweet and the tweet that accused it, there’s been at least 15 minutes on air when we broadcasted 2 songs and read another tweet.

    I know the tweet is clear. It’s there and the person who tweeted that is responsible for what he alleged. I was wondering what is the situation for the station, reading a tweet (publicly visible) , and omitting the name that contained allegations
  2. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately this site will not be of much help to you. We focus on law in the U.S. and defamation law in the U.K. is rather different than in the U.S. I suggest you consult a U.K. solicitor who does defamation law for advice on this.
    Zigner likes this.
  3. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    As @Tax Counsel mentions, we deal primarily with US law. We can briefly discuss the legal issue but it is in no way a substitute for your consulting with a U.K. solicitor.

    I do agree with you that a statement that someone else made a statement may not appear to satisfy the elements for a successful claim of slander. You also omitted the name of the person which may make such a case more challenging to bring. But this is not the end of the legal analysis as it is possible that there are other legal protections and restrictions which may apply to the media, separate from defamation law. I'd also like to add that in the US there are specific differences in the manner in which defamatory statements about famous persons versus private persons are treated.

    You might be right about how the act of merely sharing public information may be treated under UK law and that this may just be an understandably angry caller who might have no recourse other than the satisfaction of scaring you. But we can't provide a solid answer for you. Good luck.

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