"Both journalists and politicians are concerned -- rightly -- with the issue of defamation. Specifically, how far are the media legally liable if they report statements by politicians that are subsequently found to be defamatory? In his 1999 report, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression came down firmly in favour of exempting the media from liability for publishing unlawful statements made by politicians in the context of an election. The type of statements envisaged might include those that were defamatory or incited to hatred. This does not mean that there would be no liability for such statements -- the person who made them would still be liable -- but that the media would be free to reproduce them without, for example, having to review every party election broadcast or advertisement before transmission."
ACE: The Electoral Knowledge Network: The ACE Encyclopaedia: Media and Elections, p. 75

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The ACE Encyclopaedia: Media and Elections