Resources & References

Codes of Ethics

Journalism enjoys broad and deep protections in the United States under the First Amendment as well as the judicial doctrines that interpret the rights of free speech and a free press. At the same time, the journalistic profession has developed highly refined codes of conduct and ethics that are intended to set standards for factual accuracy, fair conduct and appropriate disclosure. While codes of professional conduct have no legal authority and do not legally bind any individual journalist to a specific set of rules, established media outlets strive to adhere to these standards. Outside of the mainstream and particularly on the Internet, however, codes of ethics may be of little concern to the lone blogger or anonymous web site operator.

Knowing and understanding the established standards for journalists can be a critical tool when negotiating whether a fact, allegation or an entire story should be published, corrected or retracted. There are three principal codes of conduct for journalists that are published and maintained by professional organizations.

The Society of Professional Journalists (the “SPJ”), based in Indianapolis, is the oldest and most broadly based association of journalists in the United States and is responsible for the SPJ Code of Ethics.

Society of Professional Journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (the “IFJ”), with more than 600,000 members in more than 100 nations, is comprised of journalistic trade unions and is the largest such organization in the world. The IFJ is headquartered in Brussels and maintains The IFJ Declaration of Principles on the Conduct of Journalists.

International Federation of Journalists

The Center for Investigative Reporting (the “CIR”) was founded in 1977 and is located in Emeryville, California. The CIR Ethics Guide is a comprehensive set of standards of professional conduct that is focused on investigative reporters with a particular focus on the reporter’s methodology.

Center for Investigative Reporting

Special Restrictive Statutes (“Libel Tourism”)

Beginning in 2000, a series of high-profile English libel cases led to legislative initiatives in both the United States and the United Kingdom that sharply limited how cross-border defamation claims may be brought and how judgments may be enforced. These initiatives have resulted in the enactment of statutes in the United States and the United Kingdom that are intended to place jurisdictional hurdles on cross-border libel claims.

In the U.K., this statute is the Defamation Act 2013 of England and Wales.

In the United States, the U.S. SPEECH Act (“Securing the Protection of Our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage Act”) was signed into law in 2010.

Several U.S. states have also enacted jurisdictional bars to foreign libel judgments unless the plaintiff can overcome significant hurdles.

California Code of Civil Procedure § 1716(b)(9)

New York CPLR § 302(d)

Illinois 735 ILL. COMP. STAT 5/12-621 (b)(7) (2009);

Florida Statutes 55.605 (2) (h); 55.6055

Statutes of Limitations by State

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas

Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina

North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming


Alabama Statute of Limitations

In Alabama, the statute of limitations for defamation is two (2) years.

Alaska Statute of Limitations

In Alaska, the statute of limitations for defamation is two (2) years.

Arizona Statute of Limitations

In Arizona, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

Arkansas Statute of Limitations

Arkansas law distinguishes between slander and libel. The statute of limitations for slander is one (1) year, and the statute of limitations for libel is three (3) years.

California Statute of Limitations

In California, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

Colorado Statute of Limitations

In Colorado, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

Connecticut Statute of Limitations

In Connecticut, the statute of limitations for defamation is two (2) years.

Delaware Statute of Limitations

In Delaware, the statute of limitations for defamation is two (2) years.

District of Columbia Statute of Limitations

In the District of Columbia, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

Florida Statute of Limitations

In Florida, the statute of limitations for defamation is two (2) years.

Georgia Statute of Limitations

In Georgia, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

Hawaii Statute of Limitations

In Hawaii, the statute of limitations for defamation is two (2) years.

Idaho Statute of Limitations

In Idaho, the statute of limitations for defamation is two (2) years.

Illinois Statute of Limitations

In Illinois, the statute of limitations for defamation in Illinois is one (1) year.

Indiana Statute of Limitations

In Indiana, the statute of limitations for defamation is two (2) years.

Iowa Statute of Limitations

In Iowa, the statute of limitations for defamation is two (2) years.

Kansas Statute of Limitations

In Kansas, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

Kentucky Statute of Limitations

In Kentucky, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

Louisiana Statute of Limitations

In Louisiana, the statute of limitations for defamation in Louisiana is one (1) year.

Maine Statute of Limitations

In Maine, the statute of limitations for defamation is two (2) years.

Maryland Statute of Limitations

In Maryland, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

Massachusetts Statute of Limitations

In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for defamation is three (3) years.

Michigan Statute of Limitations

In Michigan, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

Minnesota Statute of Limitations

In Minnesota, the statute of limitations for defamation is two (2) years.

Mississippi Statute of Limitations

In Mississippi, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

Missouri Statute of Limitations

In Missouri, the statute of limitations for defamation is two (2) years.

Montana Statute of Limitations

In Montana, the statute of limitations for defamation is two (2) years.

Nebraska Statute of Limitations

In Nebraska, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

Nevada Statute of Limitations

In Nevada, the statute of limitations for defamation is two (2) years.

New Hampshire Statute of Limitations

In New Hampshire, the statute of limitations for defamation is three (3) years.

New Jersey Statute of Limitations

In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

New Mexico Statute of Limitations

In New Mexico, the statute of limitations for defamation is three (3) years.

New York Statute of Limitations

In New York, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

North Carolina Statute of Limitations

In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

North Dakota Statute of Limitations

In North Dakota, the statute of limitations for defamation is two (2) years.

Ohio Statute of Limitations

In Ohio, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

Oklahoma Statute of Limitations

In Oklahoma, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

Oregon Statute of Limitations

In Oregon, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

Rhode Island Statute of Limitations

Rhode Island law treats slander and libel differently. The statute of limitations for slander is one (1) year, and the statute of limitations for libel is three (3) years.

South Carolina Statute of Limitations

In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for defamation is two (2) years.

South Dakota Statute of Limitations

In South Dakota, the statute of limitations for defamation is two (2) years.

Tennessee Statute of Limitations

Tennessee law views slander and libel slightly differently. The statute of limitations for slander is six (6) months, and the statute of limitations for libel is one (1) year.

Texas Statute of Limitations

In Texas, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

Utah Statute of Limitations

In Utah, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

Vermont Statute of Limitations

In Vermont, the statute of limitations for defamation is three (3) years.

Virginia Statute of Limitations

In Virginia, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

Washington Statute of Limitations

In Washington, the statute of limitations for defamation is two (2) years.

West Virginia Statute of Limitations

In West Virginia, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.

Wisconsin Statute of Limitations

In Wisconsin, the statute of limitations for defamation is three (3) years.

Wyoming Statute of Limitations

In Wyoming, the statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year.