7 Comm. Law. 1 (1989)

handle is hein.journals/comlaw7 and id is 1 raw text is: 000
Communications
Publication of the Forum
on Communications Law
American Bar Association
Volume 7, Number 1, Winter 1989

Proposal for the Reform of Libel LaW
BY THE LIBEL REFORM PROJECT OF THE ANNENBERG WASHINGTON PROGRAM

[Editor's Note: On March 9, 1964
the United States Supreme Court
decided New York Times v. Sul-
livan. As we approach the 25th an-
niversary of this watershed in the
law affecting the press, it must be
asked whether anyone-the press,

libel plaintiffs, or the public-is
well served by the present law of
libel. After over two dozen years
with New York Times, attention is
being focused on alternatives to
traditional libel law. Recent CL is-
sues have included articles focus-

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ing on economic strategies for libel
litigation, proposals for state leg-
islative reform of libel law, and a
description of a program initiated
by the Iowa Libel Dispute Resolu-
tion Program which attempts, in
conjunction with the American Ar-
bitration Association, to resolve li-
bel disputes outside the legal sys-
tem. This issue is largely dedicated
to the recent Proposal for the Re-
form of Libel Law by the Libel Re-
form Project of the Annenberg
Washington Program. The Annen-
berg Proposal sets forth model leg-
islation for a no-damages decla-
ratory judgment action on the
question of truth or falsity. We in-
clude here the Executive Summa-
ry of the Proposal, followed by an
expanded Outlook column pre-
senting contrasting views on the
Annenberg Proposal. The full text
of the Proposal is available from
The Annenberg Washington Pro-
gram, 1455 Pennsylvania Avenue,
N.W., Suite 200, Washington, D.C.
20004.]
Introduction
The comprehensive model Li-
bel Reform Act is designed to en-
courage the dissemination of truth
in the public realm and to facili-
tate the prompt, efficient resolu-
tion of defamation disputes by
emphasizing remedies other than
money damages. The driving phi-
losophy behind the proposed Act
is the conviction that the law of
defamation and the First Amend-
ment should not work at cross-
purposes, but should function in
Continued on page 25

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