Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Court Chides TV Stations on Lack of Fact-Checking

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Court Chides TV Stations on Lack of Fact-Checking

Article excerpt

TALLAHASSEE -- The Legislature should consider making it

illegal to disparage a profession, the 1st District Court of

Appeal suggested in an opinion about possibly misleading

television commercials in the 1994 net-ban campaign.

The three-judge court, while upholding the dismissal of a

libel suit against four Jacksonville television stations in an

opinion last week, went on to upbraid the news media for not

checking the truth of advertisements.

Fishing interests filed the suit, contending stations WJKS

TV-17, WAWS TV-30, WTLV TV-12 and WJXT TV-4 carried

advertisements by Save Our Sealife Inc. that falsely portrayed

the effects of net fishing in the successful campaign to pass a

state constitutional amendment restricting the use of nets.

Twelve other stations around the state were named in other

suits.

The advertisements showed dead fish being dumped over the

side of a boat and a turtle on its back, implying they were

killed by commercial net fishing, whereas the film was actually

shot on a University of Georgia research vessel, the suit

contended.

The suit, which contended the ads defamed fishermen, also

said a dolphin shown caught in a fishing net was a Pacific Ocean

dolphin not found in Florida waters. …

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