|FINDING LIMITS IN CYBERSPACE|
Online, does everything go?
September 8, 1997
Questions answered in this forum: Will independent cyberjournalists have access to political sources? Shouldn't cybernauts just trust their own judgement? Could newsgroup posts be considered libelous? Could libel suits squelch freedom of speech online? Should libel laws be updated to reflect the digital age? Viewer comments on online credibility
August 28, 1997
The NewsHour reports on questionable news on the 'Net.
December 25, 1996
A panel discussion on how the Internet fared in 1996.
Browse the Online NewsHour's coverage of cyberspace and law.
The U.C.L.A Online Institute for Cyberspace Law and Policy.
The Internet is free-wheeling, it's dynamic -- and some would say lawless. And it's that frontier-spirit that has attracted millions to create new personas, participate in chat rooms and publish online. Like no other medium, the Internet has allowed millions of voices that were once excluded from the traditional media to be heard.
But in this "anything goes" atmosphere, who do you trust? For every credible report online, there are a thousand pages dedicated to conspiracy theories and gossip.
And what is "fair game"? That question came to the forefront this week when the Sidney Blumental, a White House aide and former journalist, announced that he is suing online gossip columnist Matt Drudge and AOL for libel. Drudge, in The Drudge Report, said Blumenthal had a history of wife abuse, a charge Blumenthal denies. In his libel case, Blumenthal is asking for $30 million.
But Drudge never said he was a journalist, and told Time Magazine that his column is "80 percent accurate." And with modern digital editing techniques, shouldn't Internet users just take everything they read and see online with a grain of salt?
Your questions -- along with your comments -- are answered from Prof. Margaret Jane Radin, a Stanford law professor who specializes in cyber- and intellectual-property law, and Steve Geimann, president of the Society of Professional Journalists, the nation's largest journalism organization.
Questions answered in this forum: Will independent cyberjournalists have access to political sources? Shouldn't onliners just trust their own judgement? Could newsgroup posts be considered libelous? Could libel suits squelch freedom of speech online? Should libel laws be updated to reflect the digital age? Viewer comments on online credibility