Ohio court to hear arguments in TV news defamation case
Ohio’s Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in an appeal involving a defamation suit which alleged that a television station falsely labeled three sisters because”robbers.”
A Columbus family sued WBNS-TV at 2016 after the channel added a surveillance photograph revealing the faces of three unnamed people and reported to a hover board robbery at Fort Rapids Indoor Waterpark in Columbus. Police had published the photograph, asking for the public’s help in differentiating the 3 individuals that they said might have been involved.
The tv’s site narrative was headlined,”Robbers Place Gun to Child’s Head and Steal Hoverboard,” and underneath was the photograph of the 3 individuals.
Columbus police issued another news release provedn’t the prosecution suspects and requested news outlets to stop using the photo. WBNS stopped broadcasting stories about the robbery and removed the photo from its site, but kept the narrative about the episode online.
Williams along with the siblings’ father resisted the channel. The lawsuit stated following the WBNS narrative ran classmates taunted one burglar and yet another was taunted and threatened. The suit stated the sibling fled the town and lost job opportunities.
WBNS contended, among other matters, the family could not show when it relied on police information the station acted negligently and the channel didn’t defame.
The appellate court found that WBNS changed the authorities news release by suggesting people in the photograph have been robbers, not suspects, and that the household gets a”sufficient factual basis” to survive a motion to dismiss the case.
A variety of news industry associations, such as the Associated Press Media Editors, registered a brief in support of WBNS.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office, which has been allowed five minutes to assert Wednesday in support of WBNS, has stated that law enforcement agencies have an interest in protecting their rights to solicit advice and advice concerning criminal investigations through information outlets.
The oral arguments will be observed at Geneva High School in northeast Ohio’s Ashtabula County during a court session along with other cases.