Wan Phing Lim

Writer . Editor . Author

Fair comment

My time at Manchester Confidential has come to an end. After two weeks of interning with the online magazine, I have learnt to write assertively and gained confidence in expressing my opinions. There was so much insight into a form of writing so different from news.

Fair comment is a privilege accrued to writers (namely critiques) to protect their opinions from being sued for libel or defamation. It is a symbol of freedom of speech. These opinions must be honest, but they do not have to be fair.

A quote from a Mr Justice Diplock is as follows:

People are entitled to hold and express strong views on matters of public interest, provided they are honestly held. They may be views which some or all of you think are exaggerated, obstinate or prejudiced.

The basis of our public life is that the crank and the enthusiast can say what he honestly believes just as much as a reasonable man or woman.

It would be a sad day for freedom of speech in this country if a jury were to apply the test of whether it agrees with a comment, instead of applying the true test of whether this opinion, however exaggerated, obstinate, or prejudiced, was honestly held.

The definition of fair comment is that it is an honestly held opinion based on facts, published without malice on a matter of public interest. My article on whether charity fundraisers should be banned from bothering people on Market Street can be read here and invites readers to vote on the matter.

I also wrote a dance exhibition review at The Lowry called Express Yourself here, which is aimed at getting people to… move.

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This entry was posted on April 19, 2009 by and tagged .
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