What is defamation?

Defamation involves the act of publishing a statement about an individual, in written form or broadcast on media platforms such as radio, television or the Internet, which is false and threatens to damage reputation and / or livelihoods of the targeted person. Defamation is considered to be a tort (tort) and can therefore be the basis for legal action.

Understanding defamation

Defamation represents the published or disseminated version of the defamation. Defamation occurs when an individual’s words damage another person’s reputation or impair their ability to earn a living.

The impugned statement in question must pretend to be factual and not based on opinion. But that does not mean that by simply preceding a declaration of the words “I think”, an individual is protected against the possibility of committing defamatory acts. For example, if someone wrote and published the phrase “I think Joe Smith murdered his wife,” that individual is nevertheless vulnerable to defamation, even if that statement was technically formulated as a belief. Indeed, this sentence suggests that the individual had a solid basis for believing that the statement is factual.

For a person to be found guilty of defamation, the target of the offending remarks need not necessarily claim to have suffered prejudice as a result of the published statement. In addition, it is generally more difficult for public figures to prosecute for defamation than for private parties to bring legal action following similar comments. This is mainly due to a US Supreme Court decision requiring the libel to be “real malicious” so that a public figure can prosecute. Modest factual inaccuracies, such as an incorrect indication of a person’s age, height or weight, do not constitute defamatory activity.

Differences Between Online Defamation And Slander

The main difference between slander and defamation is that the former involves defamatory speech, while the latter focuses on defamatory writing. Interestingly, although defamatory content presented on websites was initially viewed as defamatory and not slanderous, this view has changed, largely due to English courts, which find that Internet content is more proportionate to the say than traditional print media.

From a strictly legal point of view, defamatory comments can only give rise to an action if they are correctly published. Unfortunately for malicious bloggers, the term “published”, in the context of communication on the Internet, legally means that only one person should read the offending blog in question. Therefore, a webmaster can be prosecuted for defaming someone by trashing their reputation on a personal blog, if only their best friend, colleague, or family member consumes the defamatory words.

Of course, personal blogs are generally much less trafficked than traditional websites, such as the official BBC News site and other major platforms. As a result, this first group is more likely to get away with defamation – not only because words may go unnoticed, but also because the target of defamation may be reluctant to take action against the accused blogger, fear that a public trial will pay even more attention to the insults in question.

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