US Blogger Crystal Cox ordered to pay $2.5 million, judge says bloggers are not journalists

By on Dec 8, 2011 in Business, Internet, Technology, United States Comments

Crystal Cox, a blogger from Oregon, was ordered by a judge to pay the amount of $2.5 million over a defamation case filed against her, with the court saying that bloggers are not journalists.



Blogger Crystal Cox
Image Credit: CrystalCox.com

As noted at SeattleWeekly.com on Tuesday, December 6, 2011, Crystal Cox recently lost the $10-million defamation case filed by investment firm Obsidian Finance Group and its co-founder Kevin Padrick.

According to the report, Obsidian sued Ms. Cox, who is a self-proclaim “investigative blogger“, last January, after she criticized the investment company in a blog post titled “Bankruptcy Corruption is Legal”, via BankruptcyCorruption.com in December last year.

During the court argument, Cox stressed out that she had a very reliable source of information pertaining to her accusations against the company but did not disclose the identity for protection purposes, which is being allowed by the media shield law of Oregon.

However, U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez ruled out last November 30 that the blogger is still not protected by state media shield-protection law since she was not employed by any official media establishment and does not qualify as a journalist.

“Based on the evidence presented at the time of trial, I conclude that plaintiffs are not public figures, defendant is not “media,” and the statements at issue were not made on an issue of public concern.” Judge Marco A. Hernandez wrote on his conclusion on the case.

“Thus, there are no First Amendment implications. Defendant’s other defenses of absolute privilege, Oregon’s Shield Law, Oregon’s Anti-SLAPP statute, and Oregon‘s retractionstatutes, are not applicable.” The Oregon district judge added.

Meanwhile, Crystal Cox, who also blog at InvestigativeBlogger.com told the report that she plans to make an appeal to the court and will prove her allegations against Kevin Padrick and the company, but will still not hire a lawyer to represent her.

The next day, Wednesday, plaintiff Kevin Padrick responded to Seattle Weekly saying that certain bloggers can inflict both the person they wrote on their blogs and on the field of online journalism in general.

“I don’t think there should be any lesser or any greater standard on the medium of the message. But just because it’s on the Internet you shouldn’t be able to hide behind that.” Padrick was quoted as saying.



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