Major news organizations join forces to urge court to rethink Devin Nunes trial ruling

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A number of major news agencies have urged the Court of Appeals to reconsider its September decision to partially revive a defamation suit brought by California Representative Devin Nunes against journalist Ryan Lizza and Hearst Magazines over an article by ‘Esquire of 2018 on the Nunes family farm. The story, titled “Devin Nunes’ Family Farm Hides Politically Explosive Secret,” alleged that the congressman’s family had moved the dairy farm from California to Iowa, in a city heavily dependent on labor. of undocumented work.

A district court judge initially dismissed the lawsuit, but in September the United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled that Lizza, who now works for Politico, had “reposted” the story by retweeting an link to it after the prosecution has been initiated. filed, which means the libel action is back.

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Today, 35 news agencies – including Bloomberg, Associated Press, Advance Publications, Penske Media Corp. (WWD’s parent company), Reuters, Fox, The New York Times, Dow Jones, Vice Media, Buzzfeed and Vox Media – have expressed concern. that the decision strongly contradicts what has been, until now, an established law governing both the use of hyperlinks to reference online information and the actual obligations to accuse public officials and public figures of malice .

“In disseminating information, journalists are building on a long and long-standing legal consensus that providing a reader with a hyperlink to an article does not repost it for the purpose of defamation. They also build on a long-established precedent that receiving a refusal to pre-publish the subject of a critical report does not, on its own, establish real malice in the publication of the report, ”he said. he declared.

“The panel’s decision to deviate from these two key principles, if allowed, could wreak havoc not only for news publishers, but for all content distributors. “

Of all the news organizations that have joined forces, Fox has garnered the most interest among media reporters as Nunes is a regular guest on the network.

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