Yesterday, the Tennessee Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Funk v. Scripps Media case involving the fair report privilege and Tennessee’s statutory Shield Law. In a victory for speech advocates and the media, the Court held that the fair report privilege cannot be defeated by a showing of either express malice or actual malice, overturning precedent dating back to the 19th Century. The opinion also addressed whether an exception to Tennessee’s statutory Shield Law, Tenn. Code § 24-1-208(b) applied. In finding that the exception did apply, the Court limited what Scripps was required to disclose: “the exception to the shield law allows a court to
compel disclosure of the source of a media defendant’s information—how media defendant know something; it does not authorize a court to compel media defendants to disclose the information the source provided.”
Aaron & Sanders partner Paul McAdoo authored an amicus brief in the case on behalf of 14 national media organizations.