About once a week or so, someone proclaims, “Whatever happened to free speech?” or “The Tribune refuses to allow comments that are contrary to its views.”
The reason? Because we won’t allow defamatory comments to be made about someone on our wltribune.com website or the Tribune’s Facebook page.
We reject these comments for legal reasons, not because we have a bias or because we are trying to take away your right to free speech.
Simply put, if you try to say something defamatory on our website, your comment won’t be allowed.
And yes, we did say that includes Facebook as well.
And no, this isn’t one of the new changes Facebook is making.
This is very much a real legal issue.
Not only can a person be sued for words published on Facebook and other forms of social media, but he or she can also be found liable in defamation for such publication.
So again, we are not trying to take away your right to free speech, and no, we don’t just publish what falls in line with the company view.
We welcome opinions and views from all sides of an issue, but libel laws are what they are and they are there to protect not only the media, but also every citizen.
All it takes is one defamatory comment to unjustly ruin someone’s reputation.
If you are unsure of what you can and can’t say on our website, please refer to our commenting etiquette, located under “Comments” on our website.