Is it considered Lashon Hara to read a news article on someone that has derogatory facts about him/her? List sources. Thanks!


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The Chofetz Chaim wrote strong words against reading newspapers (see him quoted for instance here) because of lashon hara and bitul Torah amongst others.

In an interesting interview of R J. David Bleich regarding Journalism and Jewish Law he says that it is lashon hara to draw attention to derogatory facts to a broader audience that would otherwise has known it

In the body of his classic work devoted to lashon hara, the Chofetz Chaim summarizes as black-letter law that, according to all Rishonim, it is absolutely prohibited to cause such information to be disseminated to a wider audience than would otherwise have been in possession of those facts. Intent to draw the matter to the attention of people who would otherwise have remained ignorant of that information renders the communication lashon hara per se.

However R Gil Student suggests (here), based on the Chofetz Chaim and the writings of R Binyamin Cohen that

a critical reader would be allowed to read a newspaper that sometimes contains lashon ha-ra. If it regularly contains lashon ha-ra, then your reading it is essentially tilting your head to hear. But if it is there incidentally, you need not worry if you stumble across such a forbidden article. However, you must maintain a skeptical attitude toward the reporting, recognizing the limitations of journalism and the need to refrain from judging the subjects based on such limited evidence and without hearing both sides of the story.

See also here for details of R Moshe Feinstein reading the newspaper as a way to get up to date information to inform his halachic decisions,

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