The defense of fair comment : how well does it work?
Fair Comment, now considered an effective legal defense against libel, evolved through the social and political developments in England, and the United States. The most important criterion in Milkovich v. Lorain Journal is whether the material in question is an "actionable assertion" or a "pure opinion," which is non-actionable. The criteria for deciding this changes over time. It has incorporated some old and some new standards of deciding between fact and opinion. As it stands today after the generally considered landmark case, Milkovich, the distinction between fact and opinion is dependent upon the nature of language, the broader context of the statements, verifiability of facts and sometimes even the state defamation laws. The major achievement of Milkovich is its demolition of the belief that all true opinions are protected while the courts continue to combine pre- and post-Milkovich standards in deciding defamation cases.