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Statements of Opinion 

Ethical and Legal Considerations

Annette Flanagin

Statements that contain pure opinion (ie, purely subjective judgment without assertion of fact) are not legally actionable because opinions cannot be proven true or false.(§5.08),, However, an opinion that includes, asserts, or implies facts that are false and defamatory could result in liability. As noted previously, publication of an expression of opinion about a public figure may be protected under the “fair comment” doctrine (see also , Public and Private Figures)., Fischer et al(§5.08) offer the following questions to help distinguish statements of fact from statements of opinion: ▪ Can the statement be proved true or false? ▪ Are the

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