Media Law Resource Center Guest Article: Texas Appeals Court Applies Reporter’s Privilege in the Defamation Context


A Texas court of appeals has ruled that even without the protection of the state’s new shield law, a journalist sued for libel has a qualified First Amendment privilege not to divulge confidential sources. Nelson, et al. v. Pagan, et al., No.05- 09-01380-CV (Tex. Civ. App.—Dallas Aug. 8, 2012) (Morris, Francis, and Lang-Miers, JJ.).

In upholding summary judgment for the defendants, the court also held that a reporter can establish absence of actual malice by affidavit even when that affidavit suggests heavy reliance on confidential sources. This interesting case is a boon for journalists in Texas and beyond.

Excerpted from Media Law Resource Center August newsletter. (c)2012, Media Law Resource Center, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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