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January 9, 2018

Join us for Fake News and Weaponized Defamation: Global Perspectives - January 26, 2018

Fake News and Weaponized Defamation: Global Perspectives
January 26, 2018, 9am - 5pm
Southwestern Law School Campus
3050 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90010

The notion of “fake news” has gained great currency in global popular culture in the wake of contentious social-media imbued elections in the United States and Europe. Although often associated with the rise of extremist voices in political discourse and, specifically, an agenda to “deconstruct” the power of government, institutional media, and the scientific establishment, fake news is "new wine in old bottles," a phenomenon that has long historical roots in government propaganda, jingoistic newspapers, and business-controlled public relations. In some countries, dissemination of “false news” is a crime that is used to stifle dissent. This broad conception of fake news not only acts to repress evidence-based inquiry of government, scientists, and the press; but it also diminishes the power of populations to seek informed consensus on policies such as climate change, healthcare, race and gender equality, religious tolerance, national security, drug abuse, poverty, homophobia, and government corruption, among others.

"Weaponized defamation” refers to the increasing invocation, and increasing use, of defamation and privacy torts by people in power to threaten press investigations, despite laws protecting responsible or non-reckless reporting. In the United States, for example, some politicians, including the current president, invoke defamation as both a sword and shield. Armed with legal power that individuals—and most news organizations—cannot match, politicians, and celebrities, wealthy or backed by the wealth of others, can threaten press watchdogs with resource-sapping litigation; at the same time, some leaders appear to leverage their “lawyered-up” legal teams to make knowingly false attacks—or recklessly repeat the false attacks of others—with impunity.


  • Conference Registration Fee: $120.00;
  • Members of ABA Forum on Communications Law $90.00;
  • Members of ABA Forum on Entertainment and Sports Industries $90.00;
  • Southwestern Alumni $50.00;
  • Faculty from other schools $50.00;
  • Southwestern Students Free.

*Registration fee includes Lunch and 7 Hours of CLE credit


Contact Information

Michael M. Epstein
Supervising Editor of the Journal of International Media and Entertainment Law, Professor of Law
Email: mepstein@swlaw.edu