Defamation of Character
Libel is a term used to describe visual defamation; as in newspaper articles or misleading pictures. Slander describes defamation that you can hear, not see. It is mostly oral statements that tarnish someone’s reputation.
Actual malice only occurs when the person making the statement knew the statement was not true at the time the statement was made or had a reckless disregard for whether it was true or not. For other people that are in the public eye, such as celebrities, they too must prove that the defamatory statements were made with actual malice.
Defamation laws are meant to protect reputations from being damaged through lowering their status or through any other means. Lowering of a reputation of an entity or a person can be through exposure to public ridicule. Defamation laws which tend to protect reputation that is non-existent cannot be said to be legally binding as the reputation to be protected is not demonstrable. Typically, defamation laws are meant to safeguard reputations. Defamation laws are not meant to do any other thing that may be accomplished by other laws. There are limits to which defamation laws can offer protection, for instance, legitimate criticism on public authorities who engage in corruption deals cannot be restricted by defamation laws.Public bodies should not be allowed to bring up defamation cases. This is because public bodies serve the interest of the public and they should be exposed to criticism. This will uphold the spirit of democracy in running public bodies. Groups which are not legally recognized are said not to have any reputation. As such, it cannot be argued that the reputations of such groups have been defamed. However, if the group members can prove that their reputation has been defamed at person levels then they can process a lawsuit for defamation but only at individual levels (Singh, 2008).
The same may be true of statements made in court. Privileged speech may be absolutely protected or "qualified" (protected under certain conditions), depending on the jurisdiction. Learn more about the "privilege" defense to a defamation claim.
Article 19. Criminal defamation. Article 19. Web.
Larson, A. (2003). Defamation, Libel and Slander Law. Expert Law. Web.
Singh, B. (2008). Criminal offence. The Star Online. Web.
The Canadian Bar Association. (2012). Defamation: Libel and Slander. The Canadian Bar Association. Web.