THE PROCESS OF DEFAMING- DEFAMATION

WHAT IS DEFAMATION?

Defamation/ vilification, and is the communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual person, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation. Most jurisdictions allow legal action to deter various kinds of defamation and retaliate against groundless criticism.It is usually regarded as irrational unprovoked criticism which has little or no factual
basis and can be compared to hate speech, which can also be taken to encompass discrimination against a particular organization, individual, nation, corporation or other political, social, cultural or any commercial entity.

ESSENTIALS

  1. CLAIM MUST BE FALSE
  2. HAVE BEEN MADE TO SOMEONE OTHER THAN THE PERSON DEFAMED.

TYPES:-

1)Slander

The common law origins of defamation lie in the torts of “slander” each of which gives a common law right of action. “Defamation” is the general term used internationally, and is used in this article where it is not necessary to distinguish between “slander” and “libel”. Libel and slander both require publication. The fundamental distinction between libel and slander lies solely in the form in which the defamatory matter is published. If the offending material is published in some fleeting form, as by spoken words or sounds, sign language, gestures and the like, then this is slander.

2) Libel

It is defined as defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures. The law of libel originated in the 17th century in England. With the growth of publication came the growth of libel and development of the tort of libel.

Proving libel
There are several ways a person must go about proving that libel has taken place. For example, in the United States, the person must prove that the statement was false, caused harm, and was made without adequate research into the truthfulness of the statement. These steps are for an ordinary citizen. For a celebrity or a public official, the person must prove the first three steps and that the statement was made with the intent to do harm or with reckless disregard for the truth, which is usually specifically referred to as “proving malice”.

DEFENCES:-

  1.  Statements made in good faith and reasonable belief that they were true are generally treated the same as true statements
  2. Opinion is a defense recognized in every jurisdiction
  3. Mere vulgar abuse is an insult that is not necessarily defamatory because it is not intended to be taken literally or believed or likely to cause real damage to a reputation.
  4. Fair comment on a matter of public interest, arguments made with an honest belief in their soundness on a matter of public interest
  5. etc

CONCLUSION

Defamation laws may come into tension with freedom of speech, leading to censorship or chilling effects where publishers fear lawsuits. Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights permits restrictions on freedom of speech when necessary to protect the reputation or rights of others. Jurisdictions resolve this tension in different ways, in particular in determining where the burden of proof lies when unfounded allegations are made. The power of the internet to disseminate comment, which may include malicious comment, has brought a new focus to the issue.

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