Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Trump threatens to weaken libel laws, sue reporters

28 February 2016, 07:02

Washington - Donald Trump is threatening to weaken constitutional protections for reporters as president, making it easier for him to sue them.

The celebrity businessman turned Republican presidential front-runner told a rally in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday that he wants to "open up" libel laws. The changes envisioned by Trump would mean that "when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money," he said.

Trump added that, should he be elected, news organisations that have criticised him will "have problems".

He specifically mentioned The New York Times and The Washington Post. Trump in January threatened to sue the Post after the newspaper wrote an article about the bankruptcy of his Atlantic City casino. On Twitter, Trump has routinely criticised reporters who cover him and their news organisations, including The Associated Press.

First Amendment advocates condemned Trump's suggestions.


"His statement shows why we need libel protections," said Gregg Leslie, legal defence director for the Washington-based Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. "Trump gets offended, he gets upset and he wants to sue to retaliate. That's not a good reason to sue someone."

Libel law in the US generally makes it difficult for public figures to sue reporters or other people who criticise them. To win such a case, the plaintiff must demonstrate that factually incorrect statements were made with actual malice or a reckless disregard for the truth.

Trump said he would like to lower that standard. "We're going to have people sue you like you never got sued before," he said.

Because the Supreme Court has repeatedly endorsed the existing legal standard, Trump could not change libel laws as they affect public figures by executive order or even with an act of Congress, Leslie said.

"I've never heard of politicians saying they would repeal case law established under the First Amendment," he said. "You'd really need a constitutional amendment to do that."

The First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and of the press.

Trump's comments on libel law are not the first time he has disagreed with widely held conceptions of constitutional law. In 2015, he said he saw no obstacle to deporting children born to undocumented immigrants in the US.

Courts have regularly found that such children are natural born citizens entitled to the same rights as any other American. Trump has said he does not believe a constitutional amendment would be necessary to get his way.

"You don't have to do a constitutional amendment. You need an act of Congress. I'm telling you - you need an act of Congress," he said in an interview with Bill O'Reilly of Fox News last year.

- AP


Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...