There is a legal obligation of everyone (including publications) not to say that which is false. However ALL publications can quote ‘another’ publications comments without penalty.
We have recently seen publications plead ignorance as they quote ‘other sources’ or sources that do not wish to be identified’
The traditional way of doing investigation by reporters forced them to legitimize their claims, yet today, ‘anonymous sources’ are extremely prevalent. here
The point is when should a publication as being accountable….IE Am I responsible if I print something that someone else has reported?
My view is that ANY claim from ANY publication whether quoting another source or not, have to be held accountable….. That is if you print it…(if challenged)…. need to be able to prove it or you should be held accountable for their actions.
The problem is that there are a lynching party out there that act on what publications say. “Hands up don’t shoot’ has been proved to be what caused a riot, and is STILL being used even though demonstrably false.
Additionally those accused of rape etc…. get their justice VERY quickly and the problem is that the justice is meted out by by a public forum instead of a judge.
Teachers that are accused are evicted from their job …regardless.
If you do not force an obligation by publications to report correctly on an issue the repercussions are so much greater than the report itself. For this, they need to be held accountable if the focus of the report is later found to be wrong……. the rule of law should be exercised.
If we believe in fair play…. we should also believe in just reporting!