Blogging has been a recent innovation on the web and this activity certainly has millions of followers. However, the limits of freedom of expression on the blogosphere are undefined and rather vague and this has been a point of debate for many years. In a recent ruling, a US judge has ruled against a blogger over allegations of defamations and has slammed a $2.5 million fine against her.
Crystal Cox is a blogger in the US state of Oregon and she has been writing a blog which contains her opinions, editorials and other write-ups. She has frequently written about a firm Obsidian Finance Group and has criticized it often. In a recent post, she accused the firm and it’s co-founder of having been involved in financial fraud in a real estate case. As a result, the firm slammed a lawsuit against the blogger because it called the posts ‘defamatory.’ The original lawsuit filed amounted up to $10 million.
Bloggers are not reporters:
The firm, and the judge, believed that Cox was informed of the things she cited in her blog post by some insider, or some kind of source. Cox, however, refused to reveal the source and said that under state laws, she is protected from the compulsion of revealing the source just like journalists are. However, the judge ruled that she is not affiliated to any media body, in the capacity of being an individual blogger and so, the laws for journalists do not apply to her. Also, the judge ruled against her and said that Cox is to pay $2.5 million to the firm in question. Cox, naturally, has decided to appeal against the court’s decision.
Image courtesy Sean MacEntee.