This should have been obvious already from the Open Government Act of 2007, among other laws, but now a court has reaffirmed it.
Dan Levine wrote for Reuters 17 January 2014, Blogger gets same speech protections as traditional press: U.S. court,
A blogger is entitled to the same free speech protections as a traditional journalist and cannot be liable for defamation unless she acted negligently, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday.
Crystal Cox lost a defamation trial in 2011 over a blog post she wrote accusing a bankruptcy trustee and Obsidian Finance Group of tax fraud. A lower court judge had found that Obsidian did not have to prove that Cox acted negligently because Cox failed to submit evidence of her status as a journalist.
But in the ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said Cox deserved a new trial, regardless of the fact that she is not a traditional reporter.
“As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable,” 9th Circuit Judge Andrew Hurwitz wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel.
Here’s the actual ruling: Obsidian Finance Group, LLC; Kevin D. Padrick v. Crystal Cox, United States Cour tof Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 17 January 2014, Continue reading