2005 Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code CHAPTER 73. LIBEL
CIVIL PRACTICE & REMEDIES CODE CHAPTER 73. LIBEL§ 73.001. ELEMENTS OF LIBEL. A libel is a defamation expressed in written or other graphic form that tends to blacken the memory of the dead or that tends to injure a living person's reputation and thereby expose the person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, or financial injury or to impeach any person's honesty, integrity, virtue, or reputation or to publish the natural defects of anyone and thereby expose the person to public hatred, ridicule, or financial injury. Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. § 73.002. PRIVILEGED MATTERS. (a) The publication by a newspaper or other periodical of a matter covered by this section is privileged and is not a ground for a libel action. This privilege does not extend to the republication of a matter if it is proved that the matter was republished with actual malice after it had ceased to be of public concern. (b) This section applies to: (1) a fair, true, and impartial account of: (A) a judicial proceeding, unless the court has prohibited publication of a matter because in its judgment the interests of justice demand that the matter not be published; (B) an official proceeding, other than a judicial proceeding, to administer the law; (C) an executive or legislative proceeding (including a proceeding of a legislative committee), a proceeding in or before a managing board of an educational or eleemosynary institution supported from the public revenue, of the governing body of a city or town, of a county commissioners court, and of a public school board or a report of or debate and statements made in any of those proceedings; or (D) the proceedings of a public meeting dealing with a public purpose, including statements and discussion at the meeting or other matters of public concern occurring at the meeting; and (2) reasonable and fair comment on or criticism of an official act of a public official or other matter of public concern published for general information. Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. § 73.003. MITIGATING FACTORS. (a) To determine the extent and source of actual damages and to mitigate exemplary damages, the defendant in a libel action may give evidence of the following matters if they have been specially pleaded: (1) all material facts and circumstances surrounding the claim for damages and defenses to the claim; (2) all facts and circumstances under which the libelous publication was made; and (3) any public apology, correction, or retraction of the libelous matter made and published by the defendant. (b) To mitigate exemplary damages, the defendant in a libel action may give evidence of the intention with which the libelous publication was made if the matter has been specially pleaded. Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. § 73.004. LIABILITY OF BROADCASTER. (a) A broadcaster is not liable in damages for a defamatory statement published or uttered in or as a part of a radio or television broadcast by one other than the broadcaster unless the complaining party proves that the broadcaster failed to exercise due care to prevent the publication or utterance of the statement in the broadcast. (b) In this section, "broadcaster" means an owner, licensee, or operator of a radio or television station or network of stations and the agents and employees of the owner, licensee, or operator. Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. § 73.005. TRUTH A DEFENSE. The truth of the statement in the publication on which an action for libel is based is a defense to the action. Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. § 73.006. OTHER DEFENSES. This chapter does not affect the existence of common law, statutory law, or other defenses to libel. Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.
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