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right of reply

The right to have factual mistakes corrected is now confused with right of reply, the opportunity to put a point of view. ‘Right of redress’ is better as a generic term for both assumed rights. Correcting mistakes and giving people a fair say are better separated as issues though programmes and newspapers may deal with one as they deal with the other. The theoretical distinction between them is simple: whether an individual has been legally declared bankrupt is, for example, amatter of fact butwhether an individual has treated creditors badly is a matter of judgement. In the first case, an individual wrongly reported to have been declared bankrupt deserves a correction, a right to have the facts put right. In the second, the individual reported to have treated creditors badly deserves an opportunity to speak against the allegation, a right of reply.