By definition defamation is the act of injuring someone's character or reputation by false statements. Cases of defamation are only considered attacks on if they are made in a vindictive or malicious manner. The person's name is considered not only personal but proprietary right of reputation. Defamation is synonymous with the words libel and slander in terms of law. Defamation is a term that encompasses both libel and slander. 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.
Defamation is used mainly in politically based arenas; corporate workplace, entertainment, and definitely in politics. It can be traced back to as far as governments have been established. Different countries have various roots of laws dealing with defamation and its consequences. In pre- Roman time's crimes dealing with slanderous and libel offences were punishable by death by law of the Twelve Tables. In Roman jurisprudence the offences were dealt with in a ways similar to modern law. Statements made in public were considered an offence, yet those made in private were not. The truth was a sufficient defense. Many libel and slander laws descend from the English law of defamation. The first documented case of libel was tried by the Star Chamber in the reign of James I. American laws regulating slander and libel began previous to the American Revolution. In one of the more significant cases New York publisher John Peter Zenger was accused and brought to trial on charges of libel. In 1734 the German immigrant published an article "attacking" Governor Cosby of the New York Colony. His case was won and the trial aquitted. This case showed the oppsite side of the spectrum, on how to fight against defamatory charges. Another important case occurred in 1964 in New York Times v. Sullivan. This case set a...
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