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37 Colum. J.L. & Soc. Probs. 551 (2003-2004)
The Right to Reply: A Conflict of Fundamental Rights

handle is hein.journals/collsp37 and id is 561 raw text is: The Right to Reply: A Conflict of
Fundamental Rights
JOHN HAYES*
A right to reply affords people who feel they have been unfairly criticized
or defamed by a media outlet the right to respond and have published, in
the same media outlet, their side of the issue. In an attempt to reconcile
the pertinent and oftentimes contradictory American case law concerning
such a right, this Note argues that the United States should provide, as a
remedy available to plaintiffs in successful defamation suits, the right to
reply to published or broadcast defamatory statements. Similar to such
reply rights offered in several European nations, the publisher or broad-
caster should be required to publish or air the victim's reply free of charge,
affording it the same prominence as the defamatory statements themselves,
and within a reasonable amount of time. The Note argues that, contrary
to what several American courts have held, such a right to reply is deeply
rooted in the Constitution, and especially relevant in light of modern eco-
nomic, cultural, and technological conditions. Though the freedom of the
press may to some extent be compromised, the value derived from protect-
ing the victim's freedom of speech, the victim's reputation, and the right of
the listener/viewer to receive such information overrides this competing
interest, and thus justifies the right to reply as a remedy in a defamation
suit.
I. INTRODUCTION
Throughout its history, the United States has engaged in the
pursuit of seemingly contradictory, oftentimes diametrically op-
posed, fundamental rights. As a result, the right to freedom of
speech, as elucidated in the First Amendment of the Constitu-

* The author would like to thank his family and Michele for their unwavering sup-
port, encouragement and understanding.

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