Sunday, May 18, 2003

"False publication" a crime in Virginia

Commenting on the Jayson Blair/New York Times fiasco, Mark Holmberg of the Richmond Times-Dispatch has this column, which notes that "false publication" is a crime in Virginia under Va. Code § 18.2-209 - "Any person who knowingly and willfully states, delivers or transmits by any means whatever to any publisher, or employee of a publisher, of any newspaper, magazine, or other publication or to any owner, or employee of an owner, of any radio station, television station, news service or cable service, any false and untrue statement, knowing the same to be false or untrue, concerning any person or corporation, with intent that the same shall be published, broadcast or otherwise disseminated, shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor." (Presumably this statute does not apply to the Internet, since "cable service" does not mean the same thing as the Internet, or so one might guess from Judge Jones' ruling in the Bristol cable case.)

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