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By KEN PAULSON
First Amendment Center
Forty-seven years ago, the free press became much more free.
In New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that journalists may not be sued successfully by public officials for libel unless their news coverage was false, damaged a reputation and was published with “actual malice.”
That meant establishing that the defamation was published “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.”
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