A person's reputation is their legacy which lives on after death. Most journalists and many others, whose testimony may not be credible, rely upon or hide behind the "Freedom of Speech" to promote old lies, innuendo and hate. Freedom of Speech is also used in an attempt to destroy for entertainment and profit. The masses receive their information through the media and most believe whatever they read without researching. If the media is not honest, fair and balanced in what they say or write they are being prejudice and destructive. There is no law to protect the deceased from being defamed. The families of those deceased Civil Rights are being violated because of this abuse. Prime Example: The demoralization of Michael Jackson is, without doubt, emotionally traumatic for his children. It could have a very negative and profound effect on the hearts and minds of his children, nieces/nephews and all children around the world; as well as his siblings and parents. This is "Emotional" Abuse. Abuse is Abuse.
It's time to give the deceased their due. (Jonathan Turley - Shapiro Professor of public interest law at George Washington University) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/15/AR2006091500999.html
A law would provide a posthumous cause of action for defamation that hurt the family members and financial interests of deceased persons. (John Dean - FindLaw columnists and former counsel to the president) Defaming The Dead: Congressman Peter King's Michael Jackson Media Rant http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20090710.html
CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION ARTICLE 1 DECLARATION OF RIGHTS
SECTION 1. All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy. SEC. 2 (a) Every person may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of this right. A law may not restrain or abridge liberty of speech or press.
This right has certainly and continue to be abused. Offenders should be liable and be required to give account for their personal thoughts, views or attitudes; especially those based mainly upon emotion instead of reason or knowledge. Any or all opinions formed outside of a person's civil right (that which is good or proper and conforms to fact or truth) should be considered as abusive (harmful or offensive) causing interference with thier enjoyment, happiness, privacy of life and inalienable rights. We should be able to protect the legacy of the deceased. We call upon the California Legislators to redress these wrong doings and make the proper corrections by authoring a bill/law that would hold offenders accountable for abuse of the right to "Freedom of Speech".
- California State Senate
Words are powerful and leave their effect long after they have been uttered. It is reprehensible to carelessly damage a person’s reputation and legacy by promoting rumor, innuendo, gossip and sensationalism after they have passed on. We are seeking to make it unlawful to defame a person who is deceased. The First Amendment is not a free pass to exploit people for entertainment and profit. Slander and libel are not protected expressions under the First Amendment while a person is living, and that same protection should extend to people after they are deceased.
Freedom of speech is our right, and to lose any part of that freedom would be a travesty. However, with freedom comes responsibility. The California Constitution actually addresses the issue of responsibility, as follows:
”ARTICLE 1 DECLARATION OF RIGHTS
SEC. 2. (a) Every person may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of this right. A law may not restrain or abridge liberty of speech or press.”
Our focus is the ABUSE of this right. We must be free to express our thoughts; however, we are not entitled to express as fact gossip, innuendo, lies, and conjecture. The families and friends of the deceased should not have to endure defamatory stories presented as facts about their departed loved ones. Opinions expressed that infringe upon a person’s civil right (that which is good or proper and conforms to fact or truth) should be considered as abusive, harmful, offensive and infringing upon their quality of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, which are inalienable rights. This is a form of BULLYING. Therefore, offenders should be held liable and required to give account for their expressed thoughts, views, or attitudes; especially those based mainly upon emotion instead of reason or knowledge.
It is time to address the general lack of integrity, responsibility, and accountability on the part of our news media. The line between responsible journalism and tabloid journalism has become so blurred that a new term, “medialoid” has been coined. Too often truth and unbiased objectivity are missing in the presentation of information. The coverage of Michael Jackson’s sudden death in 2009 is a perfect example of a deceased person being exploited for entertainment and profit. The media’s treatment of Mr. Jackson while he lived was an aggressive and egregious misuse of the power of words; it is even more disturbing that he continues to be denigrated after his passing. Although a high profile celebrity is named here as an example of the damage that can be committed by a media out of control, the potential damage of words used irresponsibly extends equally to everyone, regardless of fame, wealth, or social standing.
If you believe it should be unlawful for people, including the media, to defame those who have passed on, please sign this petition. We are seeking to change the current law in California; a cause of action so that a cause of defamation could be asserted on behalf of the dead.
Anti-Defamation Legacy Law Group started this petition with a single signature, and now has 683 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.