What is Libel? - Definition, Laws & Cases


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question 1 of 3

Which of the following best describes libel?

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1. A key case involving libel and Martin Luther King, Jr. arose from publication in which of the following?

2. A libelous statement can be made to:

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About This Quiz & Worksheet

Libel laws have been defined by courts that hear legal cases addressing important questions about what constitutes libel, especially when it might conflict with first amendment rights to free speech. This worksheet will help you assess your knowledge of the elements that must be met before a finding of libel, including the truthfulness of the statements, the intent behind the statements and the audience to which the statements were published.

Quiz & Worksheet Goals

In these assessments, you'll be tested on key facts about libel law, including:

  • The definition of libel
  • A key libel case involving Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • What constitutes publication in the context of libel
  • The primary requirement for a statement to be considered libelous
  • What must be proven in court to support a finding of libel
  • The extra element required before libel about a public official can be proven in court

Skills Practiced

  • Distinguishing differences - compare and contrast topics from the lesson, such as making a statement of fact compared to stating an opinion
  • Defining key concepts - ensure that you can accurately define main phrases, such as a libel and actual malice
  • Interpreting information - verify that you can read information regarding defenses against claims of libel and interpret it correctly
  • Making connections - use understanding of the concept of libel in the context of the right to free speech

Additional Learning

To learn more about libel, review the accompanying lesson on libel laws and cases. This lesson covers the following objectives:

  • Know the definition of libel
  • Understand what constitutes publication of libelous statements
  • Know key cases that define libel law
  • Understand the elements that must be proven to prove libel
  • Differentiate between an opinion and a statement of fact
  • Know the legal defenses to claims of libel
  • Differentiate how libel of public officials differs from libel of private individuals