7 Comm. Law. 1 (1989)

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

Proposal for the Reform of Libel LaW

[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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Illustration by George Brewster

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.
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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