Libel: In News of Congressional Investigating Committees was first published in 1961. This is a study of a perplexing problem in libel law, that which is involved in the reporting of news of congressional investigating committees. The danger of committing libel is a constant threat to newsmen in their attempt at fair coverage of the activities of these committees. The responsible reporter faces the challenge of reporting such news as fully as the public interest demands while, at the same time, working in a situation of uncertainty as far as libel law is concerned. Professor Nelson seeks to clarify some of the issues in the problem by a close examination of the proceedings of a single committee, the House Un-American Activities Committee. He also illustrates his discussion with examples from the proceedings of other committees, such as those of the McCarthy hearings. The basic question hinges on the concept of “qualified privilege,” the legal protection of immunity from the libel findings in connection with the reporting of “official” proceedings. But which of the committee activities may be construed as official and which as unofficial, in the eyes of the law? This is the nub of the problem, and Professor Nelson’s analysis will, it is hoped, throw light on a shadowy question. The book should prove useful and interesting to lawyers, government officials, and political scientists.
Subjects: Political Science
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