Concept

Actual malice

Summary
In United States law, actual malice is a legal requirement imposed upon public officials or public figures when they file suit for libel (defamatory printed communications). Compared to other individuals who are less well known to the general public, public officials and public figures are held to a higher standard for what they must prove before they may succeed in a defamation lawsuit. History This term was adopted by the Supreme Court in its landmark 1964 ruling in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, in which the Warren Court held that: The constitutional guarantees require, we think, a Federal rule that prohibits a public official from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with 'actual malice'—that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. Although defined within the context of a media defendant, the rule requiring proof of actual malic
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