Libel Suits and Press Freedom

Archive Report

Growing Magnitude of Libel Awards

Issues in Times Appeal of Alabama Judgment

The libel case from Alabama against the New York Times, appealed to the Supreme Court and to be argued before that tribunal in January, involves in essence the problem of protecting an individual's good name while allowing maximum freedom of expression in the press. The Times is seeking reversal of the judgment by a state court jury which in 1960 awarded damages of $500,000 to Police Commissioner L. B. Sullivan of Montgomery, the capital of Alabama. The jury determined that Sullivan had been libeled by a political advertisement which appeared in the New York newspaper during racial disturbances in Montgomery. The advertisement described the breaking up of a student demonstration by city police but ...

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