Defamation is something spoken or in print, which is intended to harm a person’s reputation. It is basically a false statement, or an offensive visual representation which might defame someone or prove harmful to one’s public image and reputation. It not only implies to individuals, but also to business, products, group, government, religion or nation. It is an offence punishable by law.
Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code criminalises defamation. It has four sections (section 499-502) which define elaborately what constitutes defamation and what the consecutive punishments are.
Defamation is of two kinds, namely :
* Slander – Defamation in a transitory form, mainly speech. (verbal). * Libel – Defamation in print. (Written, pictures etc).
Both the offences are punishable under the same section of IPC.
There are however, some defences in defamation.
* Truth published for public interest is the best defence. * Any expression in good faith on the conduct or character of a public servant on a public question. * Publication of a substantially true report.
* It is not defamation to prefer in good faith an accusation against any person to any of those who have lawful authority over that person with respect to the subject matter of accusation. * It is not defamation to make an imputation on the character of another person, provided it is made in good faith by person for protection of his or other’s interests.
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