chilling effect

(redirected from Libel chill)
Also found in: Idioms.

chill′ing effect`

a discouraging or deterring effect, esp. one resulting from a restrictive law or regulation.
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A controversial, high-profile, contentious story may never see the light of day because of libel chill.
Deneault and Talonbooks publisher Kevin Williams spoke recently in Victoria, not only about the subject matter of this book, but also from personal experience about the "libel chill" that strikes anyone who writes critically about our mining industry.
This is a step forward, but does not go far enough in addressing the serious problem of libel chill. So long as corporations remain willing to sue (or threaten to sue) critics without much regard to the merits of the case, libel chill will remain a serious problem.
Still, since Gawker editor John Cook published his account of having seen the crack-smoking video, the Star has published story after critical story about the embattled mayor and his alleged drug use, making it difficult to conclude that the Star delayed publishing strictly because of "libel chill" -- a reluctance to report aggressively for fear of legal ramifications.
(206.) See Hale, supra note 195, at 49 (surveying types of data available and stating that surveys are "[t]he most frequently used research method for measuring the impact of media law"); see also BARENDT ET AL., supra note 194, at 35-36 (employing various interview methods); Michael Massing, The Libel Chill: How Cold Is It Out There?, COLUM.