Former News Anchor| Loses Defamation Case

     (CN) – A Mississippi appeals court has thrown out the defamation and libel claims of a former news anchor who lost her job after she was arrested for cocaine possession.




     Toni Miles was arrested in October 2008 when police raided a residence she was visiting and seized cocaine and methamphetamine. Her contract at WLOX-TV was terminated soon after.
     Miles said that Raycom Media’s WLOX-TV “defamed her for her alleged involvement in the drug raid and … ‘allowed cyber libel’ against her by running a news article on its webpage,” including remarks from commentators.
     But district court judge Louis Guirola granted Raycom’s motion to dismiss, ruling that the online news story did not place Miles in a “false light.”
     “The article did not state that she had actually committed any crime, but correctly noted that she had been arrested and charged with possessing drugs,” the judge said. “As a result, the court finds that Miles has not stated a claim for false light or defamation concerning the article, because she does not contend that any statement in the article was false.”
     The court added that Raycom was immune from liability for the comments posted at the website under the Communications Decency Act.
     “Persons who claim that they were harmed by a website’s publication of user-generated content may sue the third-party user who generated that content, but they may not sue the interactive computer service that enabled the third-party user to publish the content online,” Guirola said.
     “Miles does not allege that the defendants wrote or revised the false comments,” he added. “In fact, she alleges that the comments were not filtered by the defendants … and there is no indication or allegation that the defendants encouraged defamatory comments on their website.”
     The court also dismissed Miles’ claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress.

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