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Free press: BuzzFeed wins round in key defamation lawsuit

A federal judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed for publishing the Russian dossier that in one section alleged that Aleksej Gubarev, a Cyprus-based CEO, was involved in using botnets and porn to convey viruses and to steal information from the Democratic party. Judge Ursula Ungaro cited the fair report privilege, writing “[T]he privilege exists to protect the media while they gather the information needed for the public to exercise effective oversight of the government. And, at least in New York, the privilege protects the media even when they report on official action that the government would like to keep secret.” (The Hollywood Reporter, December 19, 2018, by Ashley Cullins)

Ungaro also noted that BuzzFeed  published the dossier without any editorial comment, an essential condition for claiming the fair report privilege. She also cited the importance of the dossier as a subject for government inquiry by the Trump and Obama administrations and the FBI. (BuzzFeed, December 19, 2018, by Zoe Tillman)

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