Every day this week I have been publishing an example of a legal dilemma that might face a journalism student (why? Read my previous post on students being publishers, and the responsibilities that come with that). I can’t promise a ‘right answer’ at the end of the week – but I hope you can comment on what a student publisher might do – and why.
Case 5: Your friend witnesses a fatal beating
This isn’t a particularly nice story. Your source tells you that last night she saw a man being beaten so badly that he died afterwards.
You ask questions about where the attack took place, the victim, the attackers, and what was said and done during the attack.
You decide to write a story from what she has told you.
- What are the legal issues here – and what tests need to be met for them to be an issue?
- What defence(s) could you mount?
- How likely is it that legal action would result?
- Would you publish – and why?