Q: Does including “in my opinion” protect me from a libel or defamation suit?
A: Including the phrase “in my opinion” — for example, “In my opinion, the coach is a cheater” — does not create an automatic shield to libel. Neither does simply reprinting what someone else has said by saying something like, “‘The coach is a cheater,’ said Kristen Jones.” Nor does “alleged” automatically provide protection. If someone has been accused of wrongdoing, describe the source and nature of the accusation with specificity. Say “Coach Walsh, who has been accused by three opponents of cheating,” instead of “Coach Walsh, an alleged cheater.” For more, see SPLC guides for understanding libel.
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