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Can a major newspaper write an article about you without permission?

Saint Cloud, MN |

I was a victim of identity theft, a writer called me and asked questions, I asked him why he was asking me these questions and he said "to help other people". After the article was published ont he front page, with my name, age, town and place of employment. When I called him back, he said that he had my permission. I asked him for a copy of the tape and he emailed me back and said he forgot to tape the first part of the conversation.

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Attorney answers 2

Best Answer

As a former member of the news media, by knowingly speaking with a reporter for a newspaper and giving information in answer to questions, the newspaper did nothing wrong in publishing information taken from the interview. If the reporter had any experience at all they asked you at some point if they had your permission to speak to you, and that is all they need.

Unless anything was untruthful, the newspaper did nothing wrong. Also, (1) it would be a rare day that a newspaper would give up such a tape and (2) such recordings are regularly taped over or deleted. I chucked an interview I did with Jimmy Carter before the New Hampshire primary once.

Defamation requires proof that incorrect statements of fact, not opinion, were made to third parties and that it caused harm to you. Here is a link to a guide on defamation law to help you determine whether the law applies to your circumstances.

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This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice. Laws vary widely from state to state. You should rely only on the advice given to you during a personal consultation by a local attorney who is thoroughly familiar with state laws and the area of practice in which your concern lies.


Unless it is false, they can report any news stories they wish to write.

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