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Can a TV news show be held libel if they aired slanderous statements about my son even though they knew them to be false?

New York, NY |

My son is deceased and this attack on him in this new show has defamed his memory and caused tremoundous emotional distress to me and my family. The statements made by the person interviewed were false, vicious and slanderous. The reporter was told this repeatedly by everyone involved including the police. They aired the show anyway and continue to make false leading allogations on their website. We live in Canada and the story is about Canada but the news show is based out of New York.

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Attorney answers 5


You can sue for defemation. There could be defenses though.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


You need to talk with a New York lawyer than handles defamation. Beware that the news media here in the US has the benefit of several legal defenses. Look for an attorney right here at

Good luck.

DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.


I'm sorry for your loss and for the circumstances which led to the question. Unfortunately, my understanding is a bit different, that only the defamed person has the right to bring a cause of action for Defamation in NY . See Rose v. Daily Mirror, Inc., 284 N.Y. 335,337 (1940). In that case, which i believe is still good law, the court held that to allow the survivors to recover for defamation of the dead in this situation would be a “far-reaching” departure from New York’s long-standing law. I suggest that you speak with someone who handles defamation cases in the jurisdiction you seek to bring an action as the laws , and their interpretations, can differ.


Some of the information posted here is, unfortunately, quite misleading.

Black letter law: in New York you can't defame the dead.

Under the rules governing the conduct of attorneys in New York it may be necessary to remind you that this answer could be considered attorney advertising.

Gregory Scott Gennarelli

Gregory Scott Gennarelli


I agree with you.

Marc John Randazza

Marc John Randazza




A claim for libel ends with of the person who libeled your son. There's no cause of action for the hurt you suffered;

Do not respond in kind: don't make slanderous statements about the reporters or police involved. Any false and defamatory statements made about them will give them a basis for suing you.

If you still have doubts, and still want to sue, you should consider having a consult with a lawyer familiar with defamation law. Although the story is about Canada, I believe that any suit should be started in NY, as that is where the allegedly slanderous statement was made.

I am an attorney admitted solely in NY. None of the answers I submit on this forum constitutes legal advice, even to questioners in NY, and no attorney-client relationship is hereby created.

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