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Thread: Plushenko to sue sports commentator

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  1. #1
    Keepin' it real gsk8's Avatar
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    News Plushenko to sue sports commentator

    Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko is going to sue a Russian sports commentator Andrei Zhurankov of Eurosport 2 TV channel. During a broadcast of a skating competition in Osaka, Zhurankov said on the air that he doubted that Plushenko had had a spine surgery. The buzz about the skater was only a publicity stunt, the commentator added.

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    There isn't anything illegal to doubt somebody's surgery.

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    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glam View Post
    There isn't anything illegal to doubt somebody's surgery.
    First of all, different countries have different laws regarding what sort of speech is protected. But even in a place with free speech enshrined in the Constitution, like the US, you can be liable for damages in a civil suit for making slanderous statements about someone. Suggesting that an athlete is faking an injury for publicity can certainly be a slanderous statement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    First of all, different countries have different laws regarding what sort of speech is protected. But even in a place with free speech enshrined in the Constitution, like the US, you can be liable for damages in a civil suit for making slanderous statements about someone. Suggesting that an athlete is faking an injury for publicity can certainly be a slanderous statement.
    In the Soviet Union, I believe defamatory insults could only constitute a criminal offense, not a civil wrong.

    In the Joubert suit mentioned above, Jobert sued for 40,000 Euros and ended up getting 17,000 Euros, and one of the magazines had to publish the court ruling in one of its issues.
    Last edited by Icey; 02-12-2013 at 09:01 AM.

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    Let's Talk, thanks for the information about Russian law. Interesting that this wouldn't be a civil infraction but a crime in Russia. I don't know exactly how libel laws work here in the U.S. (except that they're a matter for civil court rather than criminal court), but I do know that people such as Tom Cruise have sued and won over claims that some tabloids have made about his private life.

    An interesting Supreme Court case during the Civil Rights era (in 1964) was N.Y. Times Company v. Sullivan. In this case, the New York Times printed an ad (sort of like a petition, not a commercial ad) in defense of Martin Luther King, Jr., that made an inaccurate statement about how many times Alabama officials had arrested King. A high-ranking police official in Alabama considered the ad defamatory and sued a bunch of civil rights activists and the Times. Eventually the matter came before the U.S. Supreme Court, whose job is to decide whether any legal decision violates the Constitution. The Justices ruled in favor of the Times and established the idea that actual malice must be shown to exist before the press can be sued for printing information against a public official. So a paper (or I suppose a reporter) must knowingly use false information with the intent to harm. I don't know whether this standard applies just to public officials or to all public figures, such as athletes.

    So I don't know whether by U.S. standards this Russian announcer would be able to be sued. However,in the U.S. one control over this kind of thing happening on TV or in the press is the worry that a really irresponsible reporter could scare away advertisers or the audience. So a TV show or a news organization might demote or fire someone who offended public opinion. For example, a radio station I listened to had a longtime announcer who made some terribly insulting statement (I don't know exactly what it is because the actual wording of the insult, which was not made on the air, was not released to the public). He was gone from the broadcaster's booth by the end of the day. Various people argued in favor of and against the decision, but he was never reinstated.
    Last edited by Olympia; 02-12-2013 at 03:51 PM.

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    Tripping on the Podium
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    Interesting that this wouldn't be a civil infraction but a crime in Russia.
    Let's Talk didn't say that - he/she said it was a crime in the Soviet Union. It is not criminal matter but a civil one in Russia which is not, as I'm sure you know, the Soviet Union any longer.
    Last edited by Brandenburg; 02-12-2013 at 09:12 PM.

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    leave no stone unturned seniorita's Avatar
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    Of course it is not illegal to doubt someone's anything. But it is not chit chat between friends, it was during journalist's commentary on Eurosport II, during the warm up of men at 4CC. He used his position as sports commentator on 4cc and the eurosport broadcasting, it was not some Russian show, not to mention the athlete was not even competing there..not that it matters.
    He is suggesting there was no surgery and it was just a PR stunt, you can say whatever you want but be aware that your freedom of speech goes together with the responsibility of what you said. I hope he has some proofs to back it up. Suggesting that Plushenko, his team or RF who had an announcement on its site about the surgery lied and there was not such thing just because paparazzi couldnt find Plushenko in a bed in Israel or because he could stood up the next day is not just opinion and not very bright either, the first to sue him should be RF and Channel1, the clinic director and the doctor who gave his inteview.
    I cant imagine Eurosport guys in UK channel to have an opinion that X skater had a fake surgery.

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    Well as far as I understood he was just doubting, not saying it was for sure. And it's not the commentator who has to prove his innocence in the court, it's Plushenko who has to show how did his comments damage his reputation.

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    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glam View Post
    Well as far as I understood he was just doubting, not saying it was for sure. And it's not the commentator who has to prove his innocence in the court, it's Plushenko who has to show how did his comments damage his reputation.
    Shedding doubt on the veracity of Plushenko's condition can still be slanderous. Are you familiar with the rules for such proceedings in Russia, and what standard of proof the plaintiff must meet to show that damage has occurred? I'm not, so I'm not about to comment on the likelihood of Plushenko succeeding.

    If memory serves, a few years ago Brian Joubert successfully sued the former Miss France and some French tabloids for insinuating that his short-lived relationship with her was a publicity stunt to hide his homosexuality. So I guess in some countries the courts are do agree that insinuations that athletes are lying about their personal life are not a good idea.

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    Oh Good Lord!

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